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Bluetooth Users: Beware of Bluesnarfing!

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Do you enable Bluetooth on your phone, tablet, or mobile devices? If the answer is yes, you might want to reconsider (like me)!

Yesterday, I was the unlucky receiver of a rare (but not unusual) cyberattack: an attack to phish data with enabled Bluetooth! Picture this: While in my car using Bluetooth listening to music on my iPhone (my Android phone’s Bluetooth was also enabled), I suddenly noticed something or someone trying to enter passwords to log in to my phones! At first, I thought I accidentally activated the login screen, but after a few minutes of studying what was going on, it was evident that someone was trying to access my phones’ data. I literally could see someone trying to enter a password on the login screen and then all of a sudden receive a failed attempt message (which also appeared on my screen). Whoever it was – kept doing it – untill I finally shut off the Bluetooth in my car, on the phones, and changed passwords.

After conducting some research, I discovered that cybercriminals within Bluetooth range are using Bluetooth as a tool to collect victim’s personal data, called Bluesnarfing. They do this through a piece of software that enables them to download photos, text messages, music, passwords, and even confidential information like your banking records.

These types of attacks happen more than people realize and too many are unaware. With the confidential data that passes through or is stored on lawyers’ devices, it is important that we all take precautionary measures. Regardless of which device you own, here are a couple of important tips to remember:

  1. Only use Bluetooth when absolutely necessary and only use public Wi-Fi with a reliable VPN. Turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off when you are not using them (althought it is always best not to use public Wi-Fi).
  2. Keep your device’s software, apps, and operating system up to date. Allow automatic updates by the maker. If there are apps or programs you are no longer using – properly delete them.
  3. If you can, regularly check the internet to see if there are any important security/privacy settings you should change (view these setting updates for iPhone/iPad users and these setting updates for Android phone/tablet users)
  4. Change passwords / passcodes on a regular basis. Remember security experts now say it is better to have a longer password than it is to have a complicated password. (Hint: Set passwords to favorite sentences, phrases, songs, movie lines, etc. that no one else would know – although sentences of random words you can remember work best.) If your phone does not allow you to change passcodes (numbers) to long passwords, regularly change and reset your passcode on a weekly basis (or everytime you active public Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) and make it longer than 4 digits.
  5. When safe, always keep your devices in plain view sight and within your hand’s reach.
  6. Avoid storing information like passwords, banking information, and highly sensitive data on your devices. Use a password vault instead.

Follow SC Bar PMAP for further updates and if you see any articles or blog posts on this issue elsewhere, please email me at eworley@scbar.org .

via @SCBar_PMAP

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