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Why You Need To Turn Off Your Android's Bluetooth When You're Not Using It
Leaving Bluetooth enabled on your Android phone may present a security risk — and allegedly Vice President Kamala Harris opts for wired earbuds over such concerns. One anonymous security researcher who goes by "SwiftOnSecurity" on Twitter said in a tweet that Bluetooth "exposes ... your device for attack" — so what is it about Bluetooth that makes it so vulnerable?
Bluetooth operates on having devices discover each other and sends signals that can be detected by other devices that are in range. This discoverability leaves them vulnerable to attack if a hacker is in the area — for instance, a nefarious actor might connect to the device without the user's permission or send a barrage of requests that leaves the phone temporarily unusable.
Privacy is another issue that users should think about when using Bluetooth. According to The New York Times, large retailers such as Walmart and Target may use Bluetooth technology to track shoppers while they are in stores to enhance the customer experience; this data can be sold to third-party marketing companies that may use your information without your knowledge.
To protect yourself, turn off Bluetooth when it's not needed or make it undiscoverable by default and only switch it on to pair it with another device. Dismiss any Bluetooth connection requests that appear unexpectedly on your device, do not accept any unknown files, and make sure your Android phone has the most up-to-date software installed for the latest security patches.