Bluetooth devices could be hacked from a kilometre away

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Consumers and businesses have been warned to monitor the security of their Bluetooth devices following an alert that the products could face possible third-party attacks.

The warning came from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) which says is raising awareness of the range of connecitivity in order to demonstrate the versatility of the technology.

 The group highlighted that asides from connecting devices such as earphones, smart speakers and computer accessories over short distances, some Bluetooth connections can span to over a kilometre - offering more flexibility but also security risks. 


The SIG noted that the majority of long-range Bluetooth conenctions concern industrial devices, but also concern large-scale sensor networks and even some drones.

However any connection could be subject to attack or breaches from cybercriminals, who could attempt to hijack connected devices or even the networks itself to gain access. 2019 has seen several major Bluetooth security alerts, including a vulnerability that was able to track iOS and Microsoft mobile device users through Bluetooth connectivity.

“All over the world, developers use Bluetooth to achieve wireless connections at distances of more than a kilometre, and these connections are the foundation of a new generation use cases like industrial asset tracking and large-scale sensor networks,” said the SIG's Martin Woolley. 

“Bluetooth can do a lot more than given credit for, and, through innovation in consumer applications, it continues to enhance the lives of millions of people around the world. But, in some ways, its success created a narrow perception of its capabilities,” Woolley added.  

Developers looking to monitor the range of connectivity for upcoming or existing launches can now check this with the newly-released Bluetooth Range Estimator tool. The Bluetooth Range Estimator is an online calculator and a self-service tool that allows developers to estimate the expected range between two Bluetooth devices in several representative environments by inputting values for the variables that most impact effective range.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.