It’s hard to come across a device which is not Bluetooth enabled these days. Therefore the blueborne bug, which exploits a security flaw or weakness in the Bluetooth technology, has the potential to affect millions of devices across the globe. The blueborne bug does not require the users to click on a link or the devices to be online to get them infected; all it takes for this bug to infect – as well as spread itself to – other devices is a turned ON Bluetooth technology.
The security vulnerability has been dubbed as Blueborne because of its ability to spread itself to other devices through the air without the use of the internet or any human interaction. And once a device is infected, other vulnerable (that is, Bluetooth enabled) devices which might come within its range could get easily affected. This is indeed bad news for the world of technology which has already seen its share of serious malware attacks this year.
Fortunately, the hacking world hasn’t noticed this Blueborne vulnerability so far, and it came to light only when security researchers at Armis, the IoT security firm, were testing the currently prevailing Bluetooth technology for vulnerabilities. The moment they found out the results, they quickly informed gadget giants like Google, iPhone, and Windows etc., so that they could come up with the appropriate security patches.
The Armis research states that Blueborne vulnerability is a collection 8 security flaws, all of which have been labeled as critical. The IoT security firm also estimates that nearly 5.3 billion unpatched devices might get affected if this Blueborne security vulnerability were to be exploited right now by the hacking community.
Unfortunately, AntiVirus Software Protection Is Not Enough
Airborne attacks are troublesome because current endpoint protection (antivirus or antimalware software and other such security tools), mobile data management, firewalls, network and web security solutions are not designed to identify these kinds of vulnerabilities and associated exploits.
They can also allow hackers to penetrate secure internal networks which are “air-gapped,” meaning they are disconnected from any other network for protection. This can endanger industrial systems, government agencies, and critical infrastructure.
What’s The Solution Then?
Since we are dealing with a collection of security vulnerabilities which are inherent to Bluetooth technology, there are only two things users can do to safeguard themselves against this blueborne bug. And they are:
1. Keep Your Device Updated: Since Armis came out with these bunch of security flaws existing in the Bluetooth technology, most of the device manufacturers have developed the appropriate security patches for handling them. Therefore keeping your device updated is one way (and probably the only way for now) of safeguarding your device.
2. Turn On Bluetooth Only When Required: Since blueborne can infect any Bluetooth-enabled device, it is best to turn On your Bluetooth only when it is needed. This piece of advice is not something new. Users have been advised to do this even before the blueborne vulnerability was exposed.
Alternatively, users also have the option of using Armis Labs’ Google App available on PlayStore which has been specifically designed to scan your device to check whether it’s vulnerable or not to the Blueborne bug. This app can also be used to check whether there are any Blueborne bug infected devices within the vicinity of your device.