Bluebugging of bluetooth-enabled devices

  • 30th November, 2022

(MainsGS3:Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.)


  • Cybersecurity experts note that apps that let users connect smartphones or laptops to wireless earplugs can record conversations, and are vulnerable to hacks.
  • Through a process called bluebugging, a hacker can gain unauthorized access to apps and devices and control them as per their wish.

About Bluebugging:

  • It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection. 
  • Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts. 
  • According to an independent security researcher Martin Herfurt, the bug exploited a loophole in Bluetooth protocol, enabling it to download phone books and call lists from the attacked user’s phone.
  • Bluebugging attacks work by exploiting Bluetooth-enabled devices in discoverable mode i.e. within a 10-metre radius of the hacker.

Preventing bluebugging:

  • 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. 
  • This will keep them invisible to hackers, thereby not letting them pair with the device.

Susceptibility to attacks:

  • Any Bluetooth-enabled device can be bluebugged as wireless earbuds are also susceptible to such hacks. 
  • Apps that enable users to connect to their TWS (True Wireless Stereo) devices or earbuds can record conversations. 
  • Apple also acknowledged earlier that wireless earbuds can record conversations stating “An app may be able to record audio using a pair of connected AirPods,”


  • Today, several smartphones have their Bluetooth settings on discovery mode, making it easy for hackers to access the phones when they are within 10 metres from the device.

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