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Why you shouldn’t leave your device’s Bluetooth switched on in public?

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  • 3 min read

For more than a decade, the use of Bluetooth has greatly facilitated wireless communication between different devices especially when there is a lack of access to the internet.

But, is it really safe to keep the Bluetooth on in public spaces? Read on to find out.


A new airborne attack was discovered by Armis, a security research firm, called Blueborne which allowed hackers to get full access to the victim’s device without his knowledge.

Devices with Windows, Linux, Android and iOS operating systems are all susceptible to this attack. The attack can be carried out on Bluetooth enabled devices which include smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, PCs, smart TVs or any Bluetooth enabled IoT devices too.

Even popular devices like the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, LG sports watch, car audio systems, iPads or iPhones not upgraded to iOS 10 were all proved to fall victim to this attack.

How it is carried out

Why you shouldn't leave your device’s Bluetooth switched on in public?

A hacker can gain access to the device regardless of the Bluetooth version in use and whether or not he has paired with the victim’s device. He then sends a malware to the victim’s device that gains access to the entire system and can then go on to carry ransomware attacks or steal your device data.

Once a device has been infected by this airborne virus, any device he connects to is vulnerable.

This is particularly disturbing in terms of how far-spread networks are and how fast this virus could proliferate. Also, since the device’s Bluetooth range is around 33 ft, the attacker can gain access to your device by infecting the other vulnerable devices in your vicinity and thus, make up for the distance.

If you’re in a crowded public space, 33 ft is enough distance for anyone to follow you for a while until the hacking process is completed.

Check out this YouTube video at the end of the article to better understand how the attack is carried on an Android device.

Security measures

Apple and Windows have dispatched the required security patches to safeguard the devices from this attack. Thus, update your devices regularly to ensure your device is protected.

But really it is just a matter of time before hackers come up with a way to breach it. Cybersecurity is a race and you can never be completely secure as new ways to breach security firewalls are tested by hackers everyday and company’s do the same in order to avoid being hacked. But it’s truly about who comes up on top.

So the best procedure for caution, for now, would be to not leave the device’s Bluetooth switched on when you’re in public in order to better secure your device against this deadly attack.

YouTube video
Parinita Haldar

Parinita Haldar