Skip to main content

There’s a major Android bluetooth security flaw. Here’s how to fix it

Looks like it’s time to check if you have an Android security update available to your phone. A new security flaw has been discovered in Android — and this time, it uses Bluetooth to allow access to your phone.

The flaw, called BlueFrag, takes advantage of Bluetooth in Android 8 and 9, and it basically allows hackers to execute code on your device. The result? Hackers can fully access anything stored on your phone, and install malware without your knowledge.

Related Videos

Of course, this sounds a little scarier than it actually is. Because it uses Bluetooth, would-be attackers have to be within Bluetooth range of your phone, which is around 33 feet. Hackers also need to know your device’s Bluetooth MAC address — though that address is relatively easy to figure out.

Still, the flaw isn’t something you would want to be vulnerable to — and thankfully, there are ways to guard against it. The February 2020 security patch comes with a fix to the flaw, and devices running Android 10 are already safe.

And don’t assume that you’re safe if you’re running a version of Android older than Android 8. The researchers who discovered the bug said that they tested it on devices running Android 8 or later — so it’s entirely possible that the flaw can be found in older versions too. The flaw itself does exist in Android 10, but thanks to changes in how Android implements Bluetooth, it’s not exploitable. Still, it’s worth keeping up with security updates as they’re made available.

Of course, not everyone will be able to install the February 2020 security patch or the latest version of Android because of how old their phone is — and if that’s you, and you’re worried about this hack, then you may want to limit your Bluetooth use. You could, for example, try and turn Bluetooth off whenever you’re not actually using it, or switch to wired headphones and other devices instead.

While it’s always a good idea to protect yourself as much as possible from exploits like this, it’s currently unclear how many hackers are actually working to take advantage of the flaw — and we’re betting the number is pretty low.

Editors' Recommendations

I’ve used Android phones for 10 years, and I hate these ones the most
pixel 4 xl rear sticking out

I’ve been using and reviewing Android smartphones for at least a decade, and during that time, I’ve spent time with a massive variety of devices that mostly fall into three distinct categories: good, passable, and bad. But what about the ones that have really stirred my emotions in a negative way? The phones that have elicited a visceral, guttural response? I’m not talking about the ones I love, but the ones I’ve downright hated.

Here are the six models that have irked me the most over the last 10 years of using and reviewing smartphones, and the reasons why they’ve made this list.
Google Pixel 4

Read more
Your Pixel 7 is about to get a whole lot less buggy — here’s why
Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones.

Google is rolling out a new Android 13 update that fixes 46 bugs and performance issues for the Pixel 7. The fixes range from squashing smaller bugs to larger, systemwide updates that do things like optimize battery life and overall performance, making this one of the most substantial Pixel 7 updates to date. While the update, Android 13 QPR2, provides a lot of fixes for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro specifically, it also cleans up performance for the entire Pixel 6 line as well.

There are plenty of small fixes in the update. However, the bigger ones seem like they're going to noticeably improve the user experience for all Pixel 7 owners on just about every front.

Read more
The one thing the iPhone 14, Galaxy S23, and Pixel 7 all get wrong
Apple iPhone SE (2020) being plugged in to charge.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, new smartphones broke cover as one would expect. I won't bore you with all the details; Digital Trends' Joe Maring and Jacob Roach wrote an excellent roundup of all the best MWC 2023 announcements already.

One key quality-of-life-improving feature we picked up on as a theme was charging speed. Apple, Samsung, and Google, the mainstream phone brands by coverage (even if not all by sales), stick to a fast-charging average speed of just over an hour — even with the latest iPhone 14, Galaxy S23, and Pixel 7. By comparison, a phone from Xiaomi, Oppo, or OnePlus can get you moving in 30 minutes or even less. It's time to demand more from our phones.
Fast charging exists — just not for you

Read more