Seeing a suspicious Bluetooth device request on your Android may seem harmless, but if it’s persistent and somehow pairs with your phone, an attacker could be connecting to your device without your permission.
Unfortunately, Android phones are easy targets for hackers. While uncommon, cybercriminals can abuse Bluetooth pairings on Android smartphones to steal your data or even install malware using malicious Bluetooth devices.
Connecting to an unknown Bluetooth device can be dangerous, especially if hackers use features like Fast Pair to pair with your device easily. That’s when you’ll need the proper protection.
This guide will help protect your Android phone from unknown Bluetooth device pairings and how the best antivirus software can keep you safe.
Unknown Bluetooth device pairing on Android: Quick fixes
It’s important to note that various Android phones use custom interfaces of Google’s Android OS — for example, Samsung’s One UI. Depending on your phone, these steps may differ slightly, but they all lead to the same place.
Follow each step below to fix unknown Bluetooth pairings on your Android.
Deny and Forget the unknown Bluetooth device
Over the years, Android has set up several security measures to prevent malicious Bluetooth connections on your smartphone. This includes users being able to deny access and remove devices that have already been paired.
If you receive a pairing request from an unfamiliar device, especially in public settings, tap Deny on the request.
Head to Settings > Connected Devices (Bluetooth) to check if the device is listed under Other devices or Saved devices. If it is, tap the blue cog icon, tap Forget, then Forget device. It will remove the device from your Android’s memory and stop it automatically pairing via Bluetooth.
Turn off Bluetooth
To keep your Android protected when in public and stop random Bluetooth device connections, it’s best to turn off Bluetooth altogether.
It’s easy to do. For Bluetooth, go to Settings > Connected Devices (Bluetooth) > Connection preferences > Bluetooth > toggle the switch to turn off Bluetooth.
This will block any unexpected devices pairing with your Android phone.
Reset your Android’s network settings
Resetting your Android’s network settings can fix bugs and get rid of any unfamiliar Bluetooth devices connected to your device. Note that it will also reset your Wi-Fi and cellular settings, meaning you’ll have to set up these networks again.
Head to Settings > System > Reset options > Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth > Reset settings > Enter PIN > Reset settings to reset your network settings.
Any unexpected Bluetooth device will need to request permission again to gain access, which you can deny.
Update your software and restart your Android
Updating your Android to the latest software version and restarting the device can often fix minor glitches and improve security, including strange Bluetooth pairing activity. However, they can also fend off malicious software.
Cybercriminals take advantage of security vulnerabilities on your device. These zero-day vulnerabilities allow threat actors to exploit computer systems until developers mitigate them, which can cause significant damage.
Updating your system’s software can resolve the issue. A software update often contains security patches that help protect your device, as developers work to protect users from known zero-day attacks and other forms of malware trying to infect your device.
You can update your Android through its settings. Navigate to Settings > System > System update > Check for update. If there are any, tap Download and install.
Change your passwords
If an unexpected Bluetooth device has been connected to your Android phone and you’re seeing suspicious activity, chances are your Android has been infected with a virus or malware, and your online accounts and devices are at risk of being compromised.
To help mitigate potential malware threats or hackers taking control of your accounts, change your passwords and use a strong password to stop suspicious activity.
Changing passwords will stop hackers from trying to steal any sensitive information and your online accounts.
Use antivirus software to detect and stop malware
Unfamiliar Bluetooth pairings on your Android could mean malware is installed on your device, and it needs to be removed the right way. Using one of the best antivirus software like Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) will keep you safe from any malicious software, like ransomware, adware, spyware, phishing and more.
That’s not all; antivirus software can provide extra features like VPNs, dark web monitoring and more. Norton 360 has all these features and extra security tools that can backup your data, prevent online identity theft and stop malware.
What’s more, Norton 360 comes with monitoring features to identify all suspicious activity on your device. It will help detect and notify you about any unusual activity, including malicious Bluetooth pairings, and stop it using it’s protection tools.
Can someone hack an Android phone using Bluetooth?
While it’s rare for someone to hack an Android via Bluetooth, it doesn’t make it impossible.
Attackers can trick Android users into accepting a Bluetooth pairing request by naming the device something familiar to the user. Fast Pair can also be risky, as threat actors can share data, such as malicious links and more, that users can click on.
Furthermore, a hacker can use a malicious Bluetooth device designed to infiltrate Android, tricking the smartphone to pair with it. From there, the hacker can steal data or install malware on the smartphone.
Again, this is a relatively difficult task, as Android regularly releases security updates to patch vulnerabilities in Bluetooth. That’s why keeping your device updated with the latest software updates is essential.
To identify and remove malicious software and prevent infections from happening, it’s best to use an antivirus like Norton 360 to detect any malicious activity and stop the malware from causing more harm.
Are public Wi-Fi networks dangerous for Android phones?
Malware can spread through all kinds of networks, wireless or not, and Wi-Fi is among the most appealing. From man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks to abusing Wi-Fi hotspots, there are several ways hackers can exploit an unsecured Wi-Fi network, especially in public.
Sometimes, threat actors will even set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to dupe users into connecting with their network, allowing them to hijack their session and steal information. You’ll want to be aware of strange-looking “McDonald Wi-Fi free” type names (especially if there isn’t a McDonald’s around).
Some common public Wi-Fi and Bluetooth attacks include a Man-in-the-Middle attack and file sharing. An MITM is a cyberattack where a bad actor puts themselves in the middle of a conversation or data transfer between a user and an application. The hacker will intercept the user’s traffic through the compromised network, allowing them to learn their personal information.
File sharing, especially through Bluetooth, is a great way to send files between devices quickly, but attackers can also use this to their advantage. Cybercriminals can send malicious software straight to a user’s device through a compromised Wi-Fi network or unsecured Bluetooth.
However, using an antivirus for Android can detect malware and keep your Android phone safe.
Can any antivirus software stop viruses and malware?
The best antivirus software will stop malware in its tracks. Not all antivirus software is equal, as some don’t have high malware detection and protection rates or have accredited lab scores to back them up.
However, many high-standard AV protections offer near-perfect scores when detecting and protecting against malware, meaning even complex malicious software can’t go unnoticed. If a malicious Bluetooth device has infected your Android phone with malware, the right antivirus software will help you stay protected.
Services, including Norton 360 (from $19.99/year) and Bitdefender (from $19.99/year), include device monitoring features to help uncover suspicious activity early and offer the tools to fight off cyberattacks. Whether its a phishing attack, ransomware, spyware or infostealer malware, these security products have the tools to protect you.
These services have protection features that block malicious activity blocking any software updates on your device. To make sure your device is ready to identify and block malware damaging your system, set yourself up with an antivirus.
Best antivirus to prevent viruses and malware
1. Norton 360 🥇From $19.99/year
Best overall antivirus of 2023
“Norton” and “antivirus” are synonymous these days, as the well-established cybersecurity brand has successfully fought against malware, viruses and nasty software threats since 1990.
Norton 360 offers excellent antivirus protection and extra features that make for a valuable, all-in-one security product. Its Norton 360 Deluxe and Premium package may cost a pretty penny. Still, with security across multiple platforms, a full-blown VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Parental Controls and more, it will have a household free of cyber threats.
Norton’s certainty of its antivirus software’s capabilities is clearly defined by the brand’s 100% Virus Protection Promise. If a device protected by Norton 360 can’t get rid of a virus, the user receives their money back. It’s a big claim, but unquestionably, no one should expect to get that refund.
If you have the money for it, you can also check out the premium Norton 360 Platinum package for even more online protection, including from identity theft. Without a doubt one of the best antivirus to get.
Read our full Norton 360 review
2. Bitdefender 🥈 From $19.99/year
Best security features and tools
Bitdefender takes the spot as best antivirus, and for good reason. It’s not enough that it boasts near-perfect lab test scores across the board, as it goes the extra mile by giving users access to a plethora of advanced security features.
Bitdefender goes above and beyond in the features department, all while keeping known malware, ransomware, and viruses at bay. It will defend your device against new attacks, provide security for online transactions, keep you safe with a reliable VPN, and protect your accounts with a password manager.
It’s a no-brainer when it comes to defending your devices against virtually any form of cyberattack, and its top-notch protection extends to its most affordable package, too. Protecting your PC and smartphone, from Windows and macOS to iOS and Android, is becoming even more necessary, and Bitdefender is the tricked-out shield you need.
Read our full Bitdefender review
3. Avast One 🙌 From $39.99/year
Best antivirus for beginners + free plan available!
With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.
Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.
It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value. Hard to go wrong with this best antivirus.
Read our full Avast One review
4. AVG👍 From 4.99/month
Best antivirus for multiple devices + free plan available!
You can never go wrong with free antivirus protection, but some deliver even better detection and protection rates, along with extra security features, without costing a dime. This is where AVG antivirus shines.
AVG provides reliable protection and only a small impact on performance for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. It safeguards your devices against malware, viruses and zero-day exploits, along with blocking malicious links and attachments in emails. Throw in phishing protection when surfing the internet and extra security features such as its SafePrice browser extension and Network Inspector, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all antivirus.
Sure, you can find all of these perks with Avast, but if you like a slick, darker user interface that’s easy to navigate, then AVG is for you.
Read our full AVG Antivirus review