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.

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

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
What is WhatsApp? How to use the app, tips, tricks, and more
WhatsApp logo on a phone.

There’s been no shortage of instant messaging apps over the past decade, as the rise of advanced smartphone platforms has created the need for more sophisticated ways to communicate than traditional SMS text messages allowed for.

In fact, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are both littered with apps that promised to be the next big thing in mobile communications. Yet, many of those fell by the wayside as they failed to achieve the critical mass of users needed to make them useful. After all, apps designed for communicating with others don’t do you much good unless enough folks are using them. Luckily, WhatsApp made our list of the best iPhone Apps and our infamous list of the best Android apps out there.

Read more
I found a phone that fixes the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s biggest flaw
Vivo X90 Pro back.

The comfort of holding a smartphone is underrated, especially when you consider that most of us hold our phones for at least a quarter of the day. And, unfortunately, it seems like the comfortable form factor of a big phone is the least thought-out feature.

Take any flagship phone with a 6.5-inch+ screen size, for instance. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S23 Ultra, or Xiaomi 13 Pro all have one thing in common: they feature top-notch cameras but aren’t very comfortable to hold, either due to the poor flat edge design or weight distribution. Thankfully, one new smartphone — the Vivo X90 Pro — solves this problem.
A design Apple wishes it could copy

Read more
The first Android 14 beta just landed — here’s everything that’s new
Screenshots of Android 14, showing the new back gesture button and share pop-up.

The first open beta of Android 14 has been released by Google for compatible Pixel smartphones. This is a public beta and not a develop-centric build, which means you can install it on your phone without any technical hassles. All you need to do is have a compatible Pixel device, register for the Android 14 beta testing program, and you will get the update via the OTA channel like a regular software update on your phone.

Now, Android 14’s first public beta is a tad light on user-facing features in its current avatar, but more tricks might be added down the road. One of the most notable tweaks is that the back arrow identifier, which appears on the screen when you swipe left or right in order to go back to the previous page, is now more prominent. Google says the larger arrow helps “improve back gesture understanding and usefulness” and that it will play well with the Material You theming system.

Read more