What is bluebugging

What is bluebugging

What is bluebugging

#GS-03 Internal Security, Science and Technology

For Prelims:


  • Bluebugging is a hacking technique that lets someone get into your device through your discoverable Bluetooth connection.
  • Through bluebugging, a hacker could listen to your calls, read and send messages, and steal your contacts.
  • It started out as a threat for laptops with Bluetooth capability.
  • Later hackers used the technique to target mobile phones and other devices.
  • Bluebugging attacks work by exploiting Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  • The device’s Bluetooth must be in discoverable mode, which is the default setting on most devices.
  • The hacker then tries to pair with the device via Bluetooth.
  • Once a connection is established, hackers can use brute force attacks to bypass authentication.
  • They can install malware in the compromised device to gain unauthorised access to it.
  • Bluebugging can happen whenever a Bluetooth enabled device is within a 10metre radius of the hacker.
  • However, according to a blog by VPN service provider NordVPN, hackers can use booster antennas to widen the attack range.

How to protect oneself:

  • Turning off Bluetooth and disconnecting paired Bluetooth devices when not in use, updating the device’s system software to the latest version, limited use of public Wi-Fi and using VPN as an additional security measure are some of the ways to prevent bluebugging.
  • Most devices make Bluetooth discoverable by default, leaving your devices susceptible to unsolicited connections.
  • So, the first step would be to make your Bluetooth devices undiscoverable from Bluetooth settings.
  • Users must also watch out for suspicious activities on their devices.
  • Reset the device to its factory settings or uninstall any apps you don’t recognise.
  • If the amount of data used suddenly spikes beyond reason, someone could be controlling the device as part of a botnet that eats up data.
  • The new-age antivirus software are helping users to detect strange and spam-like content by filtering, blocking and consistently reminding people to be alert.

Susceptible Devices:

  • Any Bluetooth-enabled device can be bluebugged.
  • Wireless earbuds are susceptible to such hacks.
  • Apps that enable users to connect to their TWS (True Wireless Stereo) devices or earbuds can record conversations.