Be Careful with Bluetooth on Your Galaxy S 4 - dummies

Be Careful with Bluetooth on Your Galaxy S 4

By Bill Hughes

Perhaps the greatest vulnerability your Galaxy S 4 phone faces is called bluejacking, which involves using some simple tricks to gain access to your phone via Bluetooth.

Do a test. The next time you are in a public place, such as a coffee shop, a restaurant, or a train station, turn on Bluetooth. Tap the button that makes you visible to all Bluetooth devices, and then tap Scan. While you are visible, you will see all the other Bluetooth devices that are out there. You will probably find lots of them. If not, try this at an airport. Wow!

If you were trying to pair with another Bluetooth device, you would be prompted to see if you were willing to accept the connection to this device. In this case, you are not.

However, a hacker will see that you are open for pairing, and take this opportunity to use the PIN 0000 to make a connection. When you are actively pairing, you would not accept the offer to pair with an unknown device. If you are visible, the hacker can fool your Bluetooth and force a connection.

After a connection is established, all your information is theirs to use as they will. Here are the steps to protect yourself:

  • Don’t pair your phone to another Bluetooth device in a public place. Believe it or not, crooks go to public places to look for phones in pairing mode. When they pair with a phone, they look for interesting data to steal.

    It would be nice if these people had more productive hobbies. However, as long as these folks are out there, it is safer to pair your Bluetooth device in a not-so-public place.

  • Make sure that you know the name of the device with which you want to pair. You should only pair with that device. Decline if you are not sure or if other Bluetooth devices offer to connect.

  • Shorten the default time-out setting. The default is that you will be visible for two minutes. However, you can go into the menu settings and change the option for Visible Time-out to whatever you want. Make this time shorter than two minutes. Don’t set it to Never Time Out.

  • This is like leaving the windows open and the keys in the ignition on your Cadillac Escalade. A shorter time means that you have to be vigilant for less time.

  • Check the names of the devices that are paired to your device from time to time. If you do not recognize the name of a device, click the Settings icon to the right of the unfamiliar name and “unpair” it. Some damage may be done, but hopefully you’ve nipped it in the bud.

Here’s an important point. When handled properly, Bluetooth is as secure as can be. However, a few mistakes can open you up to the human vermin with more technical knowledge than common sense. Don’t make those mistakes and you can safely enjoy this capability knowing that all the data on your phone is safe.