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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:
Several weeks ago at the 30th anniversary of ABA TECHSHOW, security experts firmly warned attendees about the dangers of using public Wi-Fi (not to mention several other security topics). The experts stated that while they knew many users in the room were aware of the risks associated with it, users utilized it anyway, because of the convenience, cost (it's cheap=free), and mindset that they would only be on it for a short period of time (short time = data won't get compromised/stolen).
Various experts stated that while the hotel WiFi appeared to be safe, users were taking a huge risk by being on any form of public Wi-Fi, regardless of location or credibility. Security experts proved their case by using many different examples of how devices/data could be compromised on a public Wi-Fi network with just a little bit of knowledge or tech savvy and a few tools. The results? Over and over, it was shown how public wi-fi in places like hotels, airports, restaurants, etc., makes a perfect target for malicious hackers to tap into a world of free roaming data.
The common question being, what should a user do when he or she is on the road and in need of an internet connection or the equivalent form of WiFi? What forms of remote access besides public WiFi are out there?
The tips from the experts:
For more information, see this Attorney at Work post on the dangers of public Wi-Fi. The key for law firms is education. Don't be an ostrich and bury your head in the sand. You owe it your clients and yourself.
Written by: Emily Worley, PMAP Assistant
Edited by: Courtney Kennaday, Director, PMAP
South Carolina Bar