Smart devices do a lot to make our homes more convenient and secure. They can control our thermostats with the touch of a button, allow us to check in on pets and family members via remote video monitoring, and smartphone security notifications tell us if there’s a problem when we’re away.
Like any devices that are connected to the internet, however, the software that runs these home control devices can be prone to hacking. Just last fall, the media warned the owners of the popular Google Home and Amazon Echo devices that these products could be targeted by hackers. Experts feared the potential of the devices being fed false information (such as traffic reports) or even being used to spy on their owners. In the case of WiFi-enabled access control, a hacker could use the device to gain entry to someone’s home.
Hacking can be the source of annoyance and inconvenience or — in a worst-case scenario — potentially make your home insecure. Here’s everything you need to know about Bluetooth hackers and how to protect your home and smart devices from them.
What Methods Do Bluetooth Hackers Use to Gain Access?
Bluetooth hackers are known for carrying out three types of attacks: bluejacking, bluesnarfing, and bluebugging. Let’s talk a little about each so you understand the differences.
Bluejacking is when a Bluetooth hacker gains access to a discoverable device and either pranks or spams it with messages. While this kind of attack is confusing and irritating, it’s not quite as dangerous as the other types of attacks because a bluejacker doesn’t have access to any of your sensitive data or information — nor do they have complete control of the device.
Bluesnarfing might sound like something off of an episode of The Smurfs, but it’s a much more serious threat than bluejacking. When a bluesnarfing attack occurs, Bluetooth hackers have gained access to your device in order to access its data. They can then steal private data such as contact information, passwords, and more. They can also alter any of this data.
Bluebugging is of particular concern when it comes to home access control and other smart devices because this form of attack allows Bluetooth hackers full control of a device. They could create chaos by playing with your home’s lights and thermostat, for example. Even worse — they could disable your security system or open door locks that are attached to the system.
Tips to Keep Bluetooth Hackers Away
With smart devices helping secure your home in a more convenient fashion and Bluetooth hackers threatening that security, what’s a homeowner to do? Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect your devices from Bluetooth hackers.
Use two-factor authentication. One password isn’t enough! Make sure that after a correct password is entered, your device offers a second level of authentication (such as a text, phone call, or email).
Guard your home’s WiFi. First of all, don’t name your WiFi something that makes it easy for hackers to tell where it’s coming from (“Little Blue Bungalow” or “The Smith House,” for example). Give it a generic name. Also, make sure it’s protected by WPA2 protection and a very strong password. Finally, if possible, purchase a second internet connection for use by only your home’s smart devices.
Change default passwords. A large number of people who install smart devices in their homes never bother to change the default password. These widely-used passwords are very easily guessed by Bluetooth hackers. Simply taking time to change the default password is an easy way to secure your home and keep hackers out.
Pay attention to software updates. When a security hole is found, device manufacturers work hard to release updates to ensure that any vulnerability is quickly patched. Make sure that all of the software on your home’s smart devices is up to date. If you have questions about updates for your security system or protecting any of your individual devices, be sure to ask your home security specialist.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.