Bluetooth Signals Can Be Abused To Detect and Track Smartphones

Even unpaired smartphones are vulnerable to tracking.

According to a study  by the University of California San Diego’s engineers, the Bluetooth signals that our cellphones constantly emit make the device vulnerable to abuse. It is the first-of-its-kind research in which it was concluded that Bluetooth signals assign a unique fingerprint, allowing tracking of the user’s movements and location.

For your information, modern cellular devices use Bluetooth signals to enable device tracking services like Apple’s Find My feature and COVID-19 tracing applications and establish a connection between devices such as wireless earphones and smartphones.

The team comprised researchers from UC San Diego’s Departments of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Privacy Risks Posed by Bluetooth Beacons

Researchers revealed that all devices with Bluetooth pairing capability, from smartphones and smartwatches to fitness trackers, are vulnerable to tracking. That’s because these devices transmit Bluetooth Beacons continuously. This transmission rate is around 500 beacons per minute.

They further noted that it is a significant threat because the tracking can be done accurately. The paper’s lead author, Nishant Bhaskar, wrote that the threat emerges from the constant emission of Bluetooth signals. An adversary can stalk a user by placing BLE

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