Bluetooth is one of the most convenient ways to link devices and share data, but it’s not without security concerns.
So, can you get a virus from Bluetooth?
Just as you might send or receive regular files, this technology can be used to transfer viruses or execute malicious code.
Let’s explore the risks and measures you should take to protect your devices.
Can you get a virus via Bluetooth?
All Bluetooth-enabled devices can be infected if they aren’t properly secured. That includes smartphones, computers, laptops, smartwatches, and even speakers!
However, the level of risk varies depending on the device’s operating system and configuration.
In general, older machines and outdated software are more susceptible to attacks as they may have exploitable security vulnerabilities.
For example, the 2017 BlueBorne virus allowed attackers to gain unauthorized access to a target device. They were then able to share malware with other users in the network.
This attack was spread through the air without needing a physical connection or the victims’ input.
To reduce the risk of infection, you should keep your devices updated with the latest software and security patches.
What are the potential threats?
There are several methods and threats that can result in viruses and other nasties. Here are the most common ones:
Transferring malicious files
A virus can be spread via Bluetooth by transferring infected files such as music, pictures, or videos. They usually contain malicious code, unknown to the sender and receiver.
A less likely scenario involves directly sending viruses or malware.
Because most modern devices require authentication, you’re unlikely to accept unknown files. However, this assumes you’re using adequate security measures.
Unfortunately, Bluetooth has potentially exploitable weaknesses in the pairing process and data transfer. They’re often related to software bugs and design flaws during implementation.
An attacker could use these flaws to take control of a device, steal sensitive information, or install malware on it.
That’s why it’s vital to only rely on apps, software, and Bluetooth-enabled devices you trust.
If a Bluetooth device is set to discoverable mode without additional authentication, it’ll be visible to other users. Cybercriminals could use this chance to connect with you and send you unsolicited messages.
This type of attack is called bluejacking. It often involves targeting a large number of devices in a short amount of time.
It’s important to keep your device’s Bluetooth turned off when not in use and to only accept connections you trust.
During bluesnarfing, hackers gain unauthorized access to a victim’s Bluetooth-enabled device and then steal sensitive information. That includes contacts, call logs, passwords, and messages.
Although not as widespread as it used to be, older or poorly secured devices may still be vulnerable.
How to stay safe
Staying safe from Bluetooth viruses requires constant vigilance. Here are some protective measures that won’t take up too much of your time:
Enable non-discoverable mode
When not in use, keep your devices in non-discoverable mode to prevent others from connecting to them.
Limit Bluetooth visibility
Set your device to be visible only to trusted paired connections, rather than to all nearby ones.
Avoid unfamiliar devices
Be cautious when connecting to unfamiliar or untrusted Bluetooth users, as they could be a source of malware.
Use a firewall and antivirus software
Install and regularly update your antivirus software to protect against Bluetooth viruses.
For this, we recommend Total AV. It will reliably block real-time threats, including those from Bluetooth connections.
It’s also a good idea to scan the files you wish to transfer between owned devices.
Additionally, a firewall can detect unauthorized Bluetooth traffic.
Turn off Bluetooth
There’s no need for you to have this feature enabled at all times. So, turn it off when not in use to reduce the risk of an attack.
Stay up to date
Keep your software and firmware updated to ensure you have the latest security patches and fixes.
If you own any particularly old devices, you should avoid using Bluetooth altogether.
So, can you get a virus from Bluetooth?
Yes, though it’s less likely than other methods. Modern systems have robust security measures to prevent being infected this way.
As long as you keep your devices updated and don’t connect to just anyone, you’ll be fine.
The only real risk is unknowingly sending yourself infected files. But, in that case, the likes of Total AV will keep you protected.
Good luck and stay safe!