Protecting Your IoT Devices From Bluetooth Vulnerabilities
Wed, April 21, 2021

Protecting Your IoT Devices From Bluetooth Vulnerabilities

Hackers can also compromise Bluetooth devices / Photo Credit: Media Whalestock (via Shutterstock)


Patrice Puichaud of IoT News, a platform of IoT-related content, acknowledged that IoT devices are increasing the security issues faced by corporate networks, with PwC, a global network of firms delivering world-class assurance, tax, and consulting services for businesses, reporting that 71% of manufacturers intend to deploy IoT devices despite the associated risks.

It appears that the IoT train has left the station and is now embarking on a journey toward the horizon. For the IoT train to travel safely, companies must understand the risks of installing devices and finding ways to mitigate them. The assessment should identify devices that create the risk, an analysis of various types of attacks, and its implications and regulatory risks. One area frequently overlooked in security is Bluetooth. Bluetooth is on every endpoint and it is also widely used in IoT devices.

You might think that Bluetooth is a harmless technology from a security standpoint. However, it is widely believed that its short range could prompt hackers in close proximity to compromise it. Sure, Bluetooth connections are encrypted but this doesn’t stop researchers from finding vulnerabilities, enabling them to eavesdrop on connections between headsets and devices. Bluetooth can also be used to transfer files, and if a hacker could gain access, they could potentially see sensitive information from your device. There are also other issues with Bluetooth, but is all hope lost?

To secure your IoT device, “consider the options for physical hardening of the device to prevent tampering and unauthorized access,” Puichaud advised. Is the device located outside (such as security cameras in parking spaces)? If so, find out how and under what circumstances you would be able to detect the device if it had been tampered with. IoT security also means decommissioning obsolete and used equipment. IoT devices contain sensitive information about your network or business, so you need to dispose of them carefully.

To safeguard your devices from Bluetooth attacks, ensure that Bluetooth is turned off if they are equipped with this functionality (but not actually using it). If this is not possible, make sure that all your devices are fully patched.

Bluetooth vulnerabilities may appear to be an unlikely route for hackers but that doesn’t mean they will not compromise Bluetooth devices when given the chance.