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If you don’t use Bluetooth on your smartphone, you must be living under a rock. But it turns out, that the wireless technology could actually cause some problems.
In fact, Bluetooth has historically been shown to raise issues with privacy, despite the ability that all users have to simply disable the software with the off switch.
The wireless aid has often triggered security experts. In fact, one of the most-issued tips given to the DEFCON hacker convention guests in Las Vegas is to ensure that Bluetooth is disabled on their phones before attending.
One researcher at the convention demonstrated how the technology can be used to identify vulnerable speakers at the digital event.
Once identified and hacked, spammers then have the ability to override the devices and play ‘dangerous’ sounds, for example, out loud which could lead to hearing damage for listeners nearby.
Other researchers have identified different Bluetooth-related issues, including the ability for hackers to take control and manipulate data which can be transferred across the wireless transmission.
One digital software expert, Daniele Antonioli explained at a USENIX Security conference in 2019 that ‘[an] attacker is able to the listen in on, or change the content of, nearby Bluetooth communication, even between devices that have previously been successfully paired'.
The New York Times also reported how many in-person shops use Bluetooth to trace the precise location of an individual shopper in order to sell the data or give it to advertisers, who then create data profiles on people trying to do their weekly food shop, for example.
UNILAD has contacted a representative of Bluetooth Special Interest Group for a comment on the matter.
Keeping Bluetooth switched on your phone at all times can therefore increase the potential for hackers and third-party companies to utilise and manipulate your previous data.
In order to reduce that risk, you can turn it off as soon as you’ve finished listening to your favourite pop song in the car.
Elsewhere in the online privacy realm, there are concerns around period-tracking apps following the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US.
Women in the US were warned to delete their period-tracking apps in the wake of the news on abortions.
It sparked concern among those who menstruate about the kind of data they are sharing regarding periods, miscarriages and terminations over fears that it could be shared with the authorities and used to prosecute them.
Men and others who don’t menstruate then took it upon themselves to download period tracking apps to 'cause chaos' and further protect this delicate data from being mishandled. You can read more on that here.
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