Vulnerability in Bluetooth makes it possible to follow iPhones, Macs and more

A university has discovered a vulnerability in Bluetooth security that allows devices to be tracked. iOS, macOS, and watchOS are affected, as are Windows laptops and tablets. What can you do about this?

The vulnerability has been discovered after a Boston University study, writes ZDNet. To connect to a Bluetooth device, the signal sends typically out a continually changing address. This prevents you from being followed for a more extended period. The random chance of that address can be intercepted by a unique algorithm.


Bluetooth vulnerability in iOS, macOS and more

This vulnerability affects iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and Windows 10 devices. According to the researchers, Android devices are not affected because they connect differently. The unique algorithm, which the researchers call the address-carryover algorithm, does not break into Bluetooth security. In this way, a device can be permanently monitored unnoticed. There is no access to personal information, but there is an insight into your activities.

As a user, you don't notice the vulnerability. It is not known whether this problem has already been exploited. Both Apple and Microsoft were informed on November 2018 but did not respond to the content. You can read more details about the vulnerability of the Bluetooth connection in the extensive report from the university. In it, they also write that fortunately there is a temporary solution to prevent hackers from following you.

A temporary solution
According to the researchers, it helps to temporarily switch Bluetooth off and on on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. At that time, the address is randomly composed again, so that tracking is not possible. Please note that this only works via the settings and not via the Control Panel. We expect that both Apple and Microsoft will soon come up with a software update that solves this problem. If such an update is available, you will, of course, read it on culture.

If you already suffer from Bluetooth problems on your iPhone and you are unable to connect, you can read our solutions for this problem in our tip.