How Secure are Bluetooth Headsets

15 December 2022  |  Dan Coombes

Pros

- Encrypted by Most Manufacturers
- Limited range restricts hacking attempts
- Short paring Window leaves little time for hackers to act
- Regular updates of headsets keep current models up to date

Cons

- Hackers are constantly looking to exploit vulnerabilities in technology - Obsolete headsets more at risk

What is Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging voice and data over short distances between Bluetooth enabled devices. The technology is a widespread and popular method of device connection with more than 2 billion units worldwide. Bluetooth technology is commonly used in everyday items like wireless speakers, wireless headsets, mobiles phones and more.

Bluetooth Security Threats

Bluetooth Headsets are different from other Bluetooth devices as they only facilitate the transfer of audio data. This means that common Bluetooth threats will affect Bluetooth headsets differently.

Man in The Middle Attack – is where an attacker will try to intercept information over to their device, without the knowledge of the devices being attacked. If successful, the attacker can modify data sent between the targeted devices or connect later to one of the units. The Man in the Middle method is extremely difficult to execute in real life, as the attacker would have to be very close to the devices to gain initial access.

Virus – This is where a harmful virus is sent to a target device wirelessly. This form of attack is nearly impossible to execute with Bluetooth Headsets because only audio data is transferred between the headset and other devices, as such there is no environment for viruses to run.

Eavesdropping – Eavesdropping involves a third-party gaining access to a Bluetooth connection and listening in to conversations. To achieve this the attacker would have to be present at the devices pairing and also have extremely advanced equipment.

Bluetooth Headsets

Manufacturer Security Measures for Bluetooth Headsets

Manufacturers are aware of the most common threats to Bluetooth communication and are constantly working to improve security. Modern Bluetooth headsets are packed full of technology to help improve Bluetooth security:

Encryption – All audio transfers are encrypted using encryption keys generated during the pairing process. The purpose of encryption is to protect the confidentiality of digital data transmitted between parties and preventing eavesdropping and unauthorised data access from third parties.

Intelligent Power – During the Bluetooth pairing process the power and range of the Bluetooth is reduced significantly. This makes helps protect devices from ‘man in the middle’ type attacks by making it extremely difficult to gain access without being in very close proximity.

Audio Only Data Transfer – Bluetooth headsets and USB dongles only support audio related Bluetooth profiles. Similarly, the base stations and USB dongles are designed to only pair with headsets. This means that data content stored on connected devices like desktop PCs and laptops cannot be transmitted to the headset or any other devices. It also means that viruses cannot be transferred either.

Short Paring Window – Headsets are only discoverable for a short window during pairing. After that they turn off access until reactivated by the user. This means that the gaining access to pair with headset outside of this window is next to impossible without physical access to the devices.

Remember To Keep Your Devices Updated

Hackers are constantly looking to exploit vulnerabilities in technology. Manufacturers actively respond to and fix issues via firmware updates but if you have not updated your device, you won’t receive these fixes and as a result are at more at risk.

So, How Secure are Bluetooth Headsets?

Most manufacturers and suppliers of headsets believe that if used properly, Bluetooth headsets are very difficult to breach under normal circumstances. However, hackers are ingenious in their methods and there is never an absolute guarantee that any device is completely secure.

Hackers are constantly looking to exploit vulnerabilities in technology. Manufacturers actively respond to and fix issues via firmware updates but if you have not updated your device, you won’t receive these fixes and as a result are at more at risk.

At the Headset Store we stock a wide-range of Bluetooth and DECT wireless headsets featuring the latest manufacturer security protocols. To learn more, contact our team on 01675 432 123 or view our bluetooth headsets online.

View our Range of Bluetooth Headsets

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