“Curiouser and curiouser” said Alice. “I wonder what all these security updates are about?”, said I.
Well, that’s how I felt when I saw myriad Apple security announcements that bombarded my inbox overnight. A quick visit to my old friend Google unveiled news results related to new exploit tied to Bluetooth connectivity. That sent me to into a state of panic like gosh. Apparently, a Bluetooth bug makes it possible for peeps and creeps to track a wide range of Apple devices, including your iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches. Wipe that smug smile off people coz tablets running Microsoft Windows 10 has succumbed to this bug too! The only exception seems to be Android Devices. (Got lucky this time!)
In case any of you are wondering why you should be bothered about a measly Bluetooth bug, allow me to feed your paranoia!
So, a crook in the right place at the right time will have the power to track you down. Hello stalkers, welcome to my lair of despair!
Oh, now you’re worried!
The Experts Speak
Experts say that the flaw has to do with the way Bluetooth-enabled devices pair with each other. Meaning, from the paired devices, one device serves as the central connection, and the other plays a peripheral role. The peripheral device emits a signal that contains the files for transfer and a unique address that is similar to an IP address. And for security purposes, most devices produce a random address that reconfigures periodically on its own. Here’s the irony. Now, while all this is meant to protect the users’ privacy, researchers found that by using an open-source “sniffer” algorithm, they could find Bluetooth connections even when the addresses changed.
The only saving grace is that this bug doesn’t leak personal data, yet. For now, it just allows your stalkers to track you. How considerate!
And if you’re that ‘glass half full’ kinda person here’s a silver lining for you. Thwarting this security breach is as simple as turning off your Bluetooth connection and then turning it on again, at least for Windows 10 and iOS devices. As for others, don’t dump your Bluetooth devices just yet. Why? Well, Boston University’s researcher Johannes Becker makes a valid point. He says, “There are tons of ways to track people, with or without Bluetooth.” How’s that for a silver lining!