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Bluetooth Attacks on Your iPhone and Other Devices

In recent months, a small, all-purpose antenna tool has been used to mainly take down iPhones in public settings; however, other devices that are Bluetooth compatible could be affected, i.e. Android phones, laptops, etc. This attack is not dangerous, but it is annoying and prevents you from being able to use your device while the attack is happening. The hacker cannot view any of your personal data.



What is it?

The Flipper Zero is a handheld device which contains a multi-antenna that can be easily programmed to broadcast over Bluetooth, wreaking havoc in public places such as commuter trains and Starbucks. The malicious actor uses the device to wage a denial-of-service attack within the Bluetooth range of nearby devices.

What happens if I’m attacked?

When the Flipper Zero attacks, it essentially bombards your phone or device with Bluetooth pairing requests until your phone or device locks and restarts due to being overwhelmed.

Where can hackers go from here?

The current Flipper Zero attack cannot do anything criminal to a smart phone or other device, such as deleting or stealing your data. For now, it is not a major security concern, but it is disruptive and frustrating. However, it can also be used to clone RF security cards to breach physical security measures, and it can hack into a variety of Internet of Things devices (i.e., smart TV’s, thermostats, etc.) from a distance.

InfoGrate is keeping an eye on this, as minor hacker mischief can often evolve into a more nefarious threat.

How can family offices stay safe in the case of a Flipper Zero attack?

The best way to guarantee you will not get attacked is to disable your Bluetooth when you are in a public place (i.e., while using public transportation or while in a public space such as an airport or a coffee shop). However, we understand that many individuals use Bluetooth to connect to wireless headphones or to their car; continuing to do so is fine if you understand the risks and know how to respond if you are attacked.

In case of an attack, the most important thing you can do is to remain calm. Turn your phone or device off immediately using the side power button (you will not be able to get into your settings to power down since the bombardment of pairing requests will prevent you from being able to do so). Finally, if possible, exit the area immediately.

It is also important to always keep your RF badges close (to prevent their cloning) and to remember if you "see something, say something" if you notice suspicious individuals in your building or office. We also highly recommend having a home firewall and changing all default passwords on smart devices in your home.

In conclusion, a Flipper Zero attack is something of which you should be aware. It is important to remember that this is currently more of an annoyance than a true cyber threat. Never underestimate where hackers can go from here, however! If you have any concerns about the Flipper Zero attacks or any other cyber security questions, please reach out to use at info@infograte.com. Stay safe out there!

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