Scary AirPods hack could have someone replace the music you’re listening to

Imagine this: You’re happily strolling through the park on a summer day, listening to Slayer’s fifth album, “Seasons in the Abyss” on your AirPods, when someone abruptly replaces it with Taylor Swift’s second effort, “Fearless.”

Surely such an event would come as a shock, but that’s exactly the sort of thing that could happen if a hacker took advantage of a recently disclosed vulnerability, mercifully fixed by Apple in a new firmware update for the AirPods (2nd gen and later). The same issue affects all versions of the AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Fit Pro.

In a support document, spotted by MacRumors, Apple described the vulnerability as follows: “When your headphones are seeking a connection request to one of your previously paired devices, an attacker in Bluetooth range might be able to spoof the intended source device and gain access to your headphones.” Brrr.

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How to turn on noise cancellation on your AirPods

Apple offers no way to manually update the firmware on your AirPods, meaning you cannot force the update and then save yourself from being forcefully exposed to music you don’t want to hear. Instead, per Apple, “firmware updates are automatically delivered while your headphones are paired with and in Bluetooth range of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.”

There is a way to check whether your buds or headphones are vulnerable, though. Open your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings – Bluetooth, and tap the info button next to your headphones. The software version you want to see in there is either 6A326 or 6F8.


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