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Most of us use Bluetooth daily.

It’s useful for all kinds of wireless connections, and it makes life easier in plenty of ways. If your phone automatically pairs to your chosen Bluetooth devices, you might even go for days or weeks without really thinking about Bluetooth– it’s just part of life at this point!

However, some serious issues with Bluetooth technology have recently been discovered.

This specific set of problems has been dubbed BLUFFS, which stands for Bluetooth Forward and Future Secrecy. In simple terms, these issues affect the confidentiality of communications sent using Bluetooth technology. Forward secrecy means that if an attacker discovers an encryption key used to protect secure communication, they won’t be able to decrypt past communications. Future secrecy, similarly, deals with the confidentiality of future messages.

The BLUFFS Bluetooth vulnerabilities potentially allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to past and future communications between Bluetooth devices. 

These problems affect Bluetooth versions 4.2 through 5.4, and they could potentially allow attackers to mimic devices that you connect to in order to gain access to your communications.

Why do Bluetooth vulnerabilities matter?

Imagine if your conversations could be listened to, or your messages read, by someone who shouldn’t have access to them. This is what BLUFFS could allow, since it potentially allows attackers to compromise and access encrypted information.

While you might think that your personal conversations or messages don’t contain any big secrets, they might contain sensitive personal information– passwords, access codes, etc.– that could allow someone to access your finances or even your home.

How does BLUFFS affect Bluetooth devices?

BLUFFS takes advantage of weaknesses in the way Bluetooth sets up connections between devices. It essentially tricks devices into using a weak encryption key, making it easier for attackers to figure out and pretend to be someone they’re not.

What can you do to protect yourself?

BLUFFS vulnerabilities might affect smartphones, laptops, tablets, and many other devices. For instance, the Apple iPhone 13 has Bluetooth 5.0; the iPhone 15 has Bluetooth 5.3, and the Samsung Galaxy Flip has Bluetooth 5.0. This means that these devices might be vulnerable to BLUFFS attacks.

In order to protect yourself, we’d recommend turning off Bluetooth when you’re not using it.

You can also disable some features that use Bluetooth. For instance, iOS devices use AirDrop in order to share files to nearby devices. Adjusting your AirDrop settings to “Contacts Only” can keep you more secure from potential attackers.

Most importantly, you can keep your operating systems and software up-to-date. This includes phones, computers, tablets, and other devices that offer software updates. 

These updates can help to keep devices secure. While the version of Bluetooth you have is hardware that exists within your device and can’t be updated, you can still take steps to keep yourself and your information secure.

How could this affect your business?

If you know anyone who’s had their information hacked, you know how much of an ordeal it can be to regain access to compromised accounts. When business accounts are hacked, social media platforms may be unable to help you get access back from hackers– and if they can access your accounts, they can most likely also access customers’ personal and financial information.

We’d recommend taking precautions now to avoid having to deal with Bluetooth attacks, and taking steps to secure all of your accounts. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication on as many of your devices as possible. Keep your software updated. Use strong, unique passwords. Monitor account activity to be aware of any unauthorized logins, and be very careful when clicking links sent by people you don’t know. 

Need cybersecurity help?

For many people, keeping digital information secure can seem overwhelming. It’s true that there’s a lot to remember, and it’s always changing. 

If you’d like to take some extra steps to keep your business, your customers, and your loved ones safe from cyber attacks, you’ll benefit from the multifaceted approach that Speros takes to protect your information. Schedule a consultation today to get started.


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