On Your Side Alert: "Bluebugging" Hackers target Bluetooth

You've probably seen people walking around with Bluetooth devices attached to their ears. You may have actually thought they were talking to themselves. If you use Bluetooth, there is a warning you need to know about, crooks can hack the devices and gain access to your personal information.

When it comes to Bluetooth, you either hate it or you love it. If you do use it, phone experts, like Erin Mitten, with Cell Phone Technicians say use caution, scammers are always on the prowl. "Once your information is captured that's it. You just move on with life, most likely, you will never know," Mitten says.

He says crooks can hack the devices. "Bluetooth hacking, Bluebugging or Bluesnarking as they call it is not new, Bluetooth was invented in '94 and placed in cell phones in 1996," he tells us. Cyber criminals can use specialized software to invade your Bluetooth. It's a scary thought but experts say the average Joe may not be a huge target. "Really, unless you are a celebrity, there is not much to get. I mean there are your contacts, text messages, your pictures, videos. There is really not much they can do with your device other than see what you have in there," he says.

Bluetooth technology can found in most of the devices we use every day. It's in your phone, if you have a tablet, chances are it comes with Bluetooth. Many cars come equipped with the technology and with so many options, it seems that hackers have the advantage but there are ways you can stay safe. "The easiest way to protect yourself is to keep your Bluetooth off. If you don't use Bluetooth don't walk around with Bluetooth turned on," Mitten explains.

He says hackers only have to be about 300 feet away to gain access to your device. When you are installing Bluetooth for the first time, he advises that you do in a secure area, like your home, not in a crowded public place. Also, never accept a link request from someone you don't know. "One thing the cell phone manufacturers have done to increase security is they have gone from a four digit pin to a five digit pin code so that adds 10-thousand extra combinations that the hackers computer has to filter through," Mitten says. Another tip, make sure you download and install regular security updates for your device.

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