As Bluetooth technology gets smarter, so do hi-tech hackers. The best defense against becoming a victim of online identity theft is to educate yourself on the latest trends targeting Bluetooth-enabled devices, and as a result, do what you can to help keep thieves away from your hands-free connection.
Bluejacking, Bluesnarfing, Bluebugging—What’s the Difference?
Think of it as a high-tech version of ding-dong-ditch, where savvy pranksters push unsolicited messages to engage or annoy other nearby Bluetooth users by taking advantage of a loophole in the technology’s messaging options.
More damaging than bluejacking is bluesnarfing. With bluesnarfing, thieves wirelessly connect to some early Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices without the owner’s knowledge to download and/or alter phonebooks, calendars or worse.
Bluebugging goes beyond bluejacking or bluesnarfing, allowing thieves to take full control of a device. A crafty bluebugger can wirelessly direct a mobile phone to make calls without the owner’s knowledge. Similarly, a bluebugger can set call forwarding and receive calls intended for the unsuspecting victim.
How to Safeguard Your Devices
UPDATE YOUR DEVICES
Early Bluetooth-enabled devices defaulted to “discoverable” mode, leave connections vulnerable. This loophole has since been corrected in newer devices. If you’re using an older device, connect by using the “non-discoverable” mode (usually a menu option on your device). This is especially important when you’re in an unfamiliar hot-spot area.
BE HANDS ON
Limit use of your hands-free connection, especially when you are exchanging sensitive data.
BE AWARE OF STRANGER DANGER
Criminals use unsolicited messages or business cards to try and engage victims within range. Don’t engage if you see a strange message like: “I like your hat” or “Enjoying your meal?” Delete!
MONITOR YOUR DATA USAGE
Know your average data usage. If you see a spike, it could be a sign that a hacker is using your device remotely.
LOOK FOR SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
If your device starts behaving unexpectedly—turning off or on, or suddenly disconnecting and then reconnecting—it may be a sign you’ve been hacked. If you suspect this is the case, reset your device to factory settings. This is usually a “settings” option on your device that will erase all data and applications, including those that have been criminally installed.
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