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Before buying a Bluetooth keyboard, I wondered whether hackers could get into my computer through a Bluetooth keyboard? Were the stories I read online true or made up by people looking for like? I will explain how secure Bluetooth keyboards are and why you shouldn’t worry.
Bluetooth keyboards are encrypted to prevent hackers from gaining a user’s personal information. Renowned brands have an end to end encryption to ensure any data transmitted from a keyboard to the computer is safe.
Bluetooth standard technology is safe because it uses multiple channels to prevent hacking. Reputable Bluetooth keyboard manufacturers add extra security features for better encryptions. Also, users can do a few things to ensure that a Bluetooth keyboard is more secure.
How Do Bluetooth Keyboards Work?
Bluetooth technology transmits data through short waves from the keyboard to the paired device. Bluetooth has 79 channels between 2.402 GHz and 2.480 GHz, which share information. The channels are divided into various industries, ensuring that different Bluetooth products use different frequencies.
When transmitting, a Bluetooth device switches between frequency channels to avoid interference and increase security, moreover, pairing a Bluetooth keyboard to a device makes it hard for someone else to pair with your Bluetooth keyboard.
Are Bluetooth Keyboards Secure?
Bluetooth keyboards are more secure than other types of wireless keyboards. A hacker would have to be near a Bluetooth keyboard to hack it. Where else, a Wi-Fi wireless keyboard can be hacked by anyone who has access to the same Wi-Fi network.
Numerous stories are circulating on the web about hacks through Bluetooth keyboards. In most cases, the connection was poor, or the user didn’t take extra precautions to secure the Bluetooth keyboard.
Overall, Bluetooth keyboards are the next best thing to using a wired keyboard.
Is a Bluetooth Keyboard a Wireless Keyboard?
Yes. A Bluetooth keyboard is a wireless keyboard, but not all wireless keyboards use Bluetooth. Some wireless keyboards use Wi-Fi or Infrared to transmit data. Therefore, ensure that you check the product information when buying a Bluetooth keyboard.
How to Make a Bluetooth Keyboard More Secure
There are a few extra precautions I recommend that you use to secure a Bluetooth keyboard. Most of these are my observations and not expert opinions. You can also use the recommendations whenever you are using other Bluetooth devices.
1. Product Knowledge
Learn more about your Bluetooth keyboard from the manufacturer’s and peer-to-peer review websites. Learning about your Bluetooth keyboard enables you to remember more about the weaknesses and solutions.
Therefore, you will be aware of the risks your Bluetooth keyboard exposes you to and how to prevent malicious attacks.
2. Customize Settings
Most Bluetooth keyboard users maintain the default settings after pairing them with their devices. Keeping the manufacturer’s default settings allows hackers to view the properties of your Bluetooth device. The model of your device can help hackers choose the best tools to hack your Bluetooth keyboard.
Take time and change the name of your Bluetooth keyboard and any other relevant settings so that you don’t unintentionally provide helpful information to potential hackers.
3. Keep Your Device ‘Undiscoverable’
Bluetooth-enabled devices have an option where your device stays invisible as the default settings. The device won’t be discovered when someone scans for available Bluetooth devices within their range, even when Bluetooth is on.
It would be best if you only made your Bluetooth keyboard visible when you want to pair to it. The ‘Undiscoverable’ setting will keep your Bluetooth keyboard hidden and reduce the odds of malicious parties trying to connect to it.
4. Choose a Random PIN Code
A PIN code is an essential security feature when protecting your Bluetooth keyboard. It is common knowledge that a person should change any default PIN code to something random. However, most people change their PIN code to something they can remember, like their year of birth or graduation year.
I recommend a computer-generated PIN code that contains both numbers and letters. Also, don’t write your PIN code somewhere on your desk that someone can easily access. If possible, Never write down your PIN code.
5. Set Mutual Verification Connections
Bluetooth keyboards allow a user to set mutual authentication when pairing. Take that security measure to another level by asking for mutual verification every time you pair the Bluetooth keyboard.
Most devices and networks save Bluetooth keyboard details after the first verification, and all subsequent pairing is automatic. Hackers can mimic networks familiar to your keyboard to be paired automatically. Therefore, ensure your Bluetooth keyboard asks for mutual verification any time it’s being paired to a device.
6. Use a Low Power Level
You can adjust the power settings of your Bluetooth keyboard, which affects the range of the device. Using low power settings ensures that the range of your keyboard is confined to one room.
Power and signal amplifiers allow malicious parties to access your keyboard from afar. For example, you can’t know when someone tries to pair your Bluetooth keyboard from another room when you amplify the keyboard’s Bluetooth range.
7. Use A Bluetooth Keyboard in Secure Environments
It would be best if you only paired your Bluetooth keyboard in secure environments like Wi-Fi connections. Avoid pairing a keyboard in public spaces like café’s, restaurants, parks, and other public locations. Most malicious parties hang around public places looking for vulnerable connections to hack.
I know the precautions seem a lot, but someone determined to hack your keyboard will be highly motivated. Therefore, you have to set up as many obstacles as possible to discourage someone from hacking your Bluetooth keyboard.
Tips for Choosing the Best Bluetooth Keyboard
As I wrap up, I want to give you some valuable tips to help you choose secure Bluetooth keyboards. Although all Bluetooth keyboards are encrypted, some have more security features than others.
- Buy a Bluetooth keyboard that uses the AES encryption algorithm.
- Permanently erase security-related data before selling or disposing of your keyboard.
- Choose a keyboard with a range radius of 30 feet, which is usually enough for most users.
- Check expert reviews on various products.
Bluetooth keyboards are more secure than other wireless keyboards available today. Moreover, people who work from home may never need extra precautions to secure their keyboards. However, I recommend you use the additional safety tips above if you use your keyboard in an office or public area.
Espen is the Director of ProPairing and has written extensively about Bluetooth devices for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested Bluetooth devices for the last decade.