Bluetooth includes encryption and a passcode system allows for authentication. A passcode is sometimes also called a passphrase. When two devices connect for the first time, you need to enter the same passcode (usually four or six characters long) into each device before any data is transferred. If another device tries to connect to yours, you’ll be alerted and asked if you want to accept it, before being prompted to supply a passcode.
But Bluetooth can be used for malicious attacks. These attacks are usually only directed at PDAs, computers and phones, and are possible if a Bluetooth device is set to discoverable mode, or if the unique identifying address of the device is known.
Some potential hackers use misleading device names, so that you may make a permanent connection to another device (known as pairing) by accident. Even if you later remove the pairing, hackers may be able to connect to your gadget again. The risks are small, but it pays to play it safe.
- Enable Bluetooth only when you need it.
- Only set your device to ‘discoverable’ when pairing.
- Reject unexpected pairing requests.
- Check the list of paired devices from time to time, and remove any unknown devices.
- Enable encryption, where possible, for Bluetooth transfers.
- Keep your mobile phone's firmware up-to-date.