As a wireless communication protocol Bluetooth can be hacked.

There are two main types of Bluetooth hacking ‘bluesnarfing’ and ‘bluebugging.’
  • Bluesnarfing is when hackers connect to your device via Bluetooth and access the information on it. Hackers typically download the data before the device goes out of range  
  • Bluebugging allows hackers to make calls, send text messages and access the Internet via the device’s connection as well as accessing personal information

Bluetooth hackers set up specialised hardware and software that searches for vulnerable devices with an active Bluetooth connection.

This usually happens in busy areas where people congregate such as a shopping mall or busy railway station/airport.

If a device is hacked it will give no warning. Hacking must take place within 10 metres; for devices outside of this range the connection is lost.

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The damage done

Bluetooth hackers can use your phone's Bluetooth connection to make phone-based payments or call pay-per-minute numbers.

They can also download texts, photos and other files and install malware.

Safety tips

  • Turn off your phone's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you don’t need them. If you keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth active, hackers can see what networks you've connected to before and could harness this information for nefarious ends.
  • Use two-factor authentication on your online accounts. It's an effective way to keep out hackers. Even if someone gets your password, they'd still need your phone to get the PIN number required to access your accounts.