CHARLOTTE, NC - Many of us use and love Bluetooth technology. You can use it to send a document from your laptop to a printer in another room via a radio frequency. It's easy to set up and convenient to use. However, you might want to think twice about what you use it for because that easy connection for you can also be an easy connection for a cybercreep.
Have you ever been at a house where the baby monitor or the cordless phones pick up the neighbor's conversations? This is sort of like that.
It's also less about your actual Bluetooth itself and the fact that many people walk around with the Bluetooth enabled on their smartphone when they don't use it which means it's open for cybercreeps to Bluetooth their way in.
When you have Bluetooth turned on but not in use, you are basically broadcasting that your phone is on and available for other to Bluetooth to connect.
HOW THEY DO IT:
A hacker can run a program on the computer that scans for Bluetooth connections. When they find one, bingo, they connect and they are in.
WHAT THEY TYPICALLY STEAL:
Typically things like your address book, possibly your calendar, photos, using your phone to make long distance calls, or they may turn your phone into an impromptu speaker and listen to your conversations.
3 TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
1. Turn your Bluetooth to "off" on devices such as your phone when not using the Bluetooth feature
2. You can also look at your manufacturer settings to see if there is a "hidden" or "private" mode
3. Refrain from sensitive and personal conversations using the Bluetooth device
WORD OF THE WEEK:
Snarfing: A blend of two words "snort" and "scarf" which are techie terms for stealing data over wireless. If you snoop or steal data on a Bluetooth device it is called Bluesnarfing
Bluetooth offers a page dedicated to security questions:
BlackBerry users can find help on how to secure their BlueTooth connection at:
Contact your phone service provider with any security questions you might have.