My question is about the general security of using Bluetooth in a highrise apartment building. I am not a software developer, a network administrator, nor do I work in IT. When needed, I "code", loosely speaking, but using 4th generation languages for data analysis, and not in a way that is relevant to my question. In terms of the acceptable topics listed in Q&A forum's help page, I hope that my question falls under "risk management". So my question is about the overall security risk of using Bluetooth relative to using Wi-Fi, and not about the technical details of specific forms of attack.

According to this recent article, Bluetooth is generally more secure than Wi-Fi [1]. My laptop and iPhone use home Wi-Fi to connect to my home router to access the internet and access each other, which already exposes me to risk that I have accepted. Does using Bluetooth to stream music from iPhone or laptop to a boombox expose me to less risk? If so, it's not worth pondering. If not, or if it isn't clear, then I have to ponder my next move.

Without having used Bluetooth before, I will describe the details at home, where I will be using Bluetooth. The only devices that will use Bluetooth are my Windows 10 laptop, iPhone, and a boombox (which is what I'm shopping for). I expect the laptop and iPhone to be "Masters". I don't care if someone knows what audio content I listen to, but more about using Bluetooth to attack the master devices. I will not wire an audio player to my current master devices, as suggested in the comments here. But I keep both the iPhone and laptop updated. I don't expect that the boombox will be update-able. My rental apartment is on the 9th floor, away from the street. It seems to boil down to whether my neighbours are technically savvy and mischievous. This is probably no different from using Wi-Fi.


[1] With apparent disagreement here

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    I see a mismatch between the question title and content: title is asking about the security of using Bluetooth in your apartment while in the question itself you explicitly ask about the security of Bluetooth compared to WiFi. Given that your uses cases for Bluetooth cannot be simple replaced with WiFi anyway I wonder why you need this comparison. Please adjust your question to make clear what you actually ask about - comparison of Bluetooth and WiFi in general or security of Bluetooth in your specific use case? If you want to know both please ask two questions instead. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 5:09
  • @Steffen Ullrich: I see. I'll adjust the title. But I'm not considering replacement of Bluetooth with WiFi. I'm debating whether to worry about it at all. If the risk is less than Wi-Fi, it's not worth spending time worrying. If it isn't clearly less, and maybe unknown, I don't know what I will do, as it will take a long time to gain the expertise to make a judgement call, and a lot of time to keep current on the knowledge. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 5:49
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    If you are worried about your specific risk you should not compare Bluetooth and WiFi in general but check your specific use of Bluetooth only. Also, comparing audio streaming for Bluetooth and WiFi does not make much sense: Bluetooth has a few specific Audio profiles while WiFi is only a generic data transport and there is a broad range of sometimes vendor specific application layer protocols to stream audio over WiFi. And likely none of this is supported by your audio devices anyway. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 6:08
  • I've reworded the question to focus on the relative risk of streaming audio over Bluetooth versus general home networking using Wi-Fi. If the risk is less, it's not worth worrying about. If it is not less, or unknown, then I have to ponder what to do next. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 6:23

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Compared to generic WiFi the risk of using Bluetooth for audio is likely lower. There is less complexity involved in the protocols and the wireless range is much lower. Also Bluetooth is not a generic data protocol like WiFi with lots of application layer complexity on top for the various use cases, but instead has clearly defined profiles for special use cases like audio. All of this significantly reduces the attack surface compared to WiFi - but as past attacks have shown it is not zero.

  • Thanks so. My next step is clear. For amusement, this and this form the back story behind the search for a new boombox. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 6:32

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