Pairing your cell with Bluetooth? Buyer beware

On Wednesday, the U.S. CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) decided the Bluetooth security risk was serious enough to publish a security advisory about it.

“Depending upon how it is configured, Bluetooth technology can be fairly secure,” the advisory said. “Unfortunately, many Bluetooth devices rely on short numeric PIN numbers instead of more secure passwords or passphrases.”

Basically, any device that can “discover” another Bluetooth device can send unsolicited messages or do things that could lead to extra fees, data being compromised or corrupted, data stolen in an attack called “bluesnarfing,” or the device being infected with a virus, the advisory said.

To protect against these risks, Bluetooth owners should disable the technology when it is not being used, disable unnecessary features, and switch it to “hidden” mode, CERT said. Using “hidden” mode won’t prevent me from using my headset with my phone because once the two devices have located each other, or paired, they will continue to be able to recognize each other thereafter.

Bluetooth users should also be careful where they are using the technology. For instance, using it in a public wireless “hotspot” poses a greater risk that someone else can intercept the connection than using it in your home or car, according to the advisory.

Now all I have to do is get something to protect me from the Bluetooth device’s electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), which may or may not pose health risks.

Read more: Pairing your cell with Bluetooth? Buyer beware


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