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Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard used for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances.

Bluetooth is useful for building personal area networks using short-wavelength UHF radio waves in the industrial, scientific and medical radio bands from 2.400 to 2.485 GHz. Bluetooth is mainly used for linking computers and electronic devices in an ad hoc way over very short distances, often for only brief or occasional communication using relatively small amounts of data. It uses little power, connects automatically, and in theory presents little or no health risk.

But there’s a major downside to Bluetooth technology: Malicious third parties can use Bluetooth to connect to a device they shouldn’t have access to, or trick targets into thinking their rogue device is a trusted one.

One of Bluetooth’s greatest vulnerabilities is eavesdropping. Eavesdropping can happen even when you are not connected to a Bluetooth device; in some cases, an individual can access your phone or tablet’s microphone to hear what’s happening around you. If another person can eavesdrop on your call, you might unwittingly reveal sensitive information that can compromise personal and digital security. 

Many Bluetooth devices use a default PIN and a default device name. Consequently, it is easy for anyone to gain access. Security experts recommend that you change your PIN from the default option, which is often “0000.” Instead, use a PIN that is at least eight characters long.

With most devices, you must change the PIN directly on the device itself. The location of the setting varies by model and manufacturer. On Epson printers, for example, it is located in the “Bluetooth Settings” area of the “Setup” menu.

Bluetooth devices are the most vulnerable when they are in pairing mode. At that point, they are actively searching for other devices, which makes it easier for eavesdroppers to gain access. It’s recommended that you avoid pairing Bluetooth devices in crowded public spaces like coffee shops or train stations. Instead, move to a place away from other people. Keep track of all of your Bluetooth connections and never accept unknown pairing requests.

Occasionally, Bluetooth security weaknesses are due to holes in the software. When the manufacturer discovers a vulnerability, it will usually release a software update to patch the problem. To ensure that your devices are equipped with the strongest protection, Bluetooth users should install security updates as soon as they are released.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Bluetooth Security Training, a 2-day course covering the security capabilities of Bluetooth. The course provides coverage on Bluetooth weaknesses, threat vectors, Bluetooth security features, Bluetooth attacks and guidelines to organizations employing Bluetooth technologies on securing them effectively.

Additionally, Tonex offers nearly three dozen more courses in Cybersecurity Foundation. This includes cutting edge courses like:

Cybersecurity Fundamentals (2 days)

Electric Grid Cybersecurity Master Certification (4 weeks)

Network Security Training (2 days)

Software Security Training (2 days)

ICS Cybersecurity Training (4 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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