Hacking the Bluetooth


The Bluetooth handshake occurs when two devices pair up to establish a connection, such as your phone and car. Hackers in the area use specialized software and hardware to discover vulnerable Bluetooth-equipped devices.

The primary use of Bluetooth involves connecting multiple devices without using cables or wires. Further, Bluetooth relies on short-range radio frequency, and any device that incorporates the technology can communicate if it is within the required distance. In addition, devices with built-in Bluetooth adapters help us connect and talk on the phone behind the wheel. 

Handshakes like this occur in busy areas where hundreds of people and hackers congregate or commute regularly. 

If hackers are nearby, they immediately begin decrypting passwords and accessing information once they gain access. Hackers can access your texts, contacts, photos, call histories, etc. Scammers also use hacked phones to make long-distance calls.  

You won’t even know you’re being hacked. But once you are out of range, the connection is lost. Unless you are a celebrity, a government official or a corporate executive, you are unlikely to be a target.

Types of Bluetooth hacks

First, the least harmless is Bluejacking. A hacker will send unsolicited and anonymous messages to Bluetooth-enabled devices for amusement. Think of a prank call to annoy you. 

Second, bluesnarfing uses a phone’s Bluetooth connection to steal personal information stored on the device. 

Third, the most malicious form of Bluetooth hacking is Bluebugging. A skilled hacker gains full access and control of a device during the attack. Generally, this is accomplished by installing a backdoor on the victim’s device. Hackers can intercept or reroute communications when they’re in eavesdropping mode. Hackers, for instance, can receive all calls, such as forwarding calls to the attacker.

Fourth, a car whisperer attack takes advantage of a flaw in the connection vehicle implementation. Some car manufacturers use the same passwords for authentication and encryption. As a result, nearby hackers can use laptops and Bluetooth antennas to connect and listen in. 

In conclusion, there are several ways to protect yourself.

  • Change the manufacturer’s PIN code.
  • Disable Bluetooth when not in use 
  • Switch Bluetooth into “not discoverable” mode when you aren’t using it. 
  • Don’t accept pairing requests from unknown users. 
  • Require user approval for connection requests.

Terry Cutler

I’m Terry Cutler, the creator of Internet Safety University, an educational system helping to defend corporations and individuals against growing cyber threats. I’m a federal government-cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the founder of Cyology Labs, a first-line security defence firm headquartered in Montréal, Canada. In 2020, I wrote a bestselling book about the secrets of internet safety from the viewpoint of an ethical hacker. I’m a frequent contributor to National & Global media coverage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and social network dangers families and individuals face daily.