Former assistants say Kamala Harris will not use Bluetooth headphones because she believes they pose a security risk
- Vice President Kamala Harris is often seen wearing wired earphones for conversations
- Now former assistants have revealed the reason. They say it’s a safety measure
- According to Politico, she fears that Bluetooth buttons or pods could be hacked
- Aides also said she will not allow guests to wait alone in her office
Vice President Kamala Harris is reportedly pushing for wired earphones because she fears Bluetooth pods pose a security risk.
At a time when many users have moved on to the nearly invisible buttons and pods, Harris can often be seen holding off television interviews with a telltale cable dangling from her head.
And in a viral music video showing her speaking to Joe Biden on the phone after they secured their 2020 election victory, she holds a tangle of white threads in her left hand.
Now former assistants have explained that the reason is not some sort of retro chic, but that someone could be intercepting her communications.
They told Politico that the vice president has long been cautious about security and technology.
Vice President Kamala prefers to use wired earphones for remote interviews and now former assistants have explained why – she believes they are more secure than wireless connections
In a much-shared clip of her congratulatory call to Joe Biden after their 2020 election victory was confirmed, she can be seen holding the tell-tale white wires in her hand
Harris can often be seen tangled with wires with her phone
From Bluesnarfing to Bluebugging: How Bluetooth Technology Can Be Hijacked by Criminal Hackers
Bluetooth technology transmits data wirelessly between portable devices over short distances.
While that may be useful for users, it also provides criminals with an additional point of attack to intercept communications.
Types of attacks include: Bluejacking – sending unsolicited messages; Bluesnarfing – hacking phones set to ‘discoverable’; and Bluebugging – compromising a phone so that it calls the hacker who can eavesdrop on conversations.
While Bluetooth on phones has a range of about 30 feet, laptops can have a range of 300 feet, making them more difficult to secure.
This year, the National Security Agency warned users that turning on Bluetooth in a public environment could pose a cybersecurity risk.
It is recommended that users ensure that the device is not left in discovery mode when Bluetooth is activated and discovery is not needed.
Some said it was a precautionary measure for someone handling classified information, while others told the outlet it was almost paranoid.
In addition to using wired headphones to avoid Bluetooth, she also apparently prefers texting over email and doesn’t leave her guests waiting alone in her office.
And a former aide said staff were told to let her visitors wait for her outside her office during her time as a California attorney general.
A request for comment on why the vice president prefers wired earphones went unanswered.
But Harris isn’t alone in the retro look.
Celebrities like Bella Hadid, Lily-Rose Depp and Zoë Kravitz have been spotted wearing wired earphones.
Fashion writers say the ubiquity of buttons has led some trendsetters to look for something more distinctive.
When Liana Satenstein, a fashion writer at Vogue.com, saw Hadid wearing a wired headset in 2019, she described it as “strangely luxurious.”
Cybersecurity experts say there may be something in the vice president’s approach.
While security has improved since Bluetooth was developed in the 1990s, it still adds an additional potential point of attack.
“If Kamala Harris uses wired earplugs, communication between her phone and her ears cannot be intercepted there,” cybersecurity researcher and author Kim Crawley told The Guardian.
“I assume Mrs. Harris is aware of a lot of top secret and classified information and that that top secret and classified information could be going through her phone, so no, I don’t think that’s overly paranoid.”
Other presidents are annoyed by the security restrictions on their phone use.
I’m not allowed to have an iPhone for security reasons,” President Barack said at a 2013 event at the White House.
Instead, he was only allowed to use a Blackberry device, limited to communicating with 10 people.
But even that took effort.
He was the first president in history to use email, and he had to convince the National Security Agency to allow him to keep a mobile device in office.