Bluebugging: How hackers utilize Bluetooth-enabled devices to steal data

Bluebugging attackers avail themselves of software imperfections, which is why software of devices must always be up-to-date

New Update

The World Bank in its World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives, affirmed that global online traffic has increased by 50% due to lockdowns and distance working, opening up wider courses of cybercriminal action.


Talking of India in the same year, based on Statista’s 2022 report, there was a clear jump in cybercrime, with over 52,000ases being logged. And, as cyber threat keeps terrorizing, there’s a new way now faring well with hackers and adding to our worry - Bluebugging.

Is Bluebugging the same as computer bugs?

No. Computer bugs are errors in the coding or some fault in the design of a computer program that can lead to odd behaviour or the production of inaccurate or unexpected results. The bugs may cause unintended text formatting, software crashes, computer freezes, or something as serious as hardware damage. The consequences of these bugs, however, are still far subtler than those of Bluebugging.


Bluebugging refers to attacks on devices equipped with Bluetooth technology – a handy feature inbuilt into nearly every unwired gadget these days. Where your mobile computers like laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, air buds, carputers, etc., are simplifying communications for you, they are also putting your virtual property at risk via Bluetooth.

How is Bluebugging perpetrated?

MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, which are made of random, unique numbers, enable Bluetooth devices to connect with one another on a network. Once compromised, replay attacks can be used to track a device user's activities.


First, a hacker attempts to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled device. Once connected, the hacker can avoid authentication through brute force attacks. This involves the trial-and-error method to find login credentials and encryption keys or locate a concealed webpage.

Next, malware is secretly installed on the device to gain further access to the device.

The hacker can then view your contacts, read your messages, listen to and even record your calls, and misuse your emails. Your personal gallery is not safe either.


Who is more susceptible to Bluebugging?

Those who do not

  • Turn off

Tap Bluetooth off when you're done using it on your devices. A Class-2 Bluetooth radio, which is frequently used in contemporary gadgets, has a discoverable range between 10 and 15 meters. Any device having this class of Bluetooth radio is accessible, not just your phone. With an amplified antenna, threat actors can also widen that range.

  • Use new, uncommon passwords and change them periodically.

Regardless of what device you want to secure, using a strong password is your first layer of protection in your fight against cyber criminals. According to the LastPass 2022 Review, employees repeat passwords 13 times on average. Reusing passwords poses a significant security concern since someone who already has your sensitive details may use them repeatedly to break into your other accounts.


Because of this, make sure your passwords are strong enough or get a good password manager to assist you.

  • Avoid pairing with unrecognised devices.

It’s best to not pair with any device you don’t recognize or trust. Do not accept Bluetooth messages from strangers either.

  • Store wisely

Your data is also your property and should only be accessible to you or others with your permission. Don't save certain information on Bluetooth-active devices if you're concerned about having it stolen.

  • Update regularly

Keep updating your computer systems to the latest versions and for having advanced security features. This is vital because Bluebugging attackers avail themselves of software imperfections. This will guarantee that your defences are always up to date.

Other preventive measures against data theft include installing a reliable antivirus program, employing a VPN as an additional layer of security, and continuously monitoring abrupt jumps in your data usage. Additionally, you can raise your cybersecurity degree with national aid like the Cyber Swacchta Kendra.

By taking these highly necessary actions, you can prevent your device from getting Bluebugged. Now that you know what to do, enjoy a safe and fun time online.

The article has been written by Abhishek Agarwal, President, Judge India & Global Delivery, The Judge Group