The Daily Beast

Well Actually, Kamala Is Right. Bluetooth Is a Risk


A report that Vice President Kamala Harris is so “Bluetooth-phobic” that she avoids using wireless headphones ignited a snark-a-thon on social media on Monday, but digital security experts—and the U.S. government itself—say that the potential risks of the ubiquitous wireless connection is far from funny.

The piece, published in Politico’s West Wing Playbook, dismissively portrays Harris as having a “feeling” that Bluetooth has security issues— “But still, should someone who travels with the nuclear football be spending time untangling her headphone wires? The American people deserve answers!”—but Bluetooth security issues have been well-documented and known for years. In fact, according to those familiar with digital security, it’s actually extremely prudent that Harris may be reluctant to rely on Bluetooth since the technology is notoriously insecure, and cell phones determine a user’s location through a combination of GPS, Bluetooth, and wireless signals.

The U.S. government, via guidance from the National Security Agency’s defensive cybersecurity branch, recommended last year that if users want to avoid the risk of data exposure seeping out to unwanted eavesdroppers, they ought to disable Bluetooth altogether, according to an agency document.

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