Bluetooth Technology Could Cost You

Thursday, December 11th 2008, 9:44 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Most people with cell phones know what Bluetooth technology is, it lets you send information between phones, PDA's and computers without any cables.

People can also use that technology to Blue-jack or Blue-snarf you.

An example, you and your wife are having lunch in a restaurant and you start getting messages on your cell phone, maybe they're nice, complimenting your tie, or maybe they're mean, criticizing your wife's haircut, you've been Blue-jacked.

When someone uses Bluetooth to steal information from your phone, that's blue-snarfing.

Bluetooth technology is great for sending information between devices wirelessly, no hassle of hooking up cables. But, as with all technology, it can be used for good or evil.

Someone can download software to an internet capable phone which then seeks out a Bluetooth connection on other phones.

They can use that access to send you messages or even make calls through your phone and you pay for it.

"So, if they get hold of your phone and I was within 20 feet of you, Bluetooth only works within a certain radius, if I'm that close to you, I can place a call as though I'm you and it shows up on your bill," said Tom Jenkins of U.S. Cellular.

Blue-snarfing is using that connection to steal information.

Someone could access a competitor's contacts, calendar of appointments or get the pictures on your phone.

To protect yourself, turn off Bluetooth when you're not using it or set it Bluetooth to undiscoverable or put a password on your device.

"If you're driving down the road, have it on. If you're at the office and trust people there, great, but, if you're at a bus station, airport, major place where people congregate, a mall, maybe wouldn't have Bluetooth on," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says treat your phone, which is really a computer, like your wallet. Don't leave it with people you don't know or trust and protect it so people don't steal your valuables and cost you in the long run.

This is not a huge problem, but something we should be aware of and take steps to protect against.

One group did a test and within 30 minutes, they made contact with 192 Bluetooth phones, 54 of those would've given up data with no question and without the owner's knowledge.