BlueTooth Hacking: Step by Step Guide

BlueTooth Hacking: Step by Step Guide
By JIMA

You have heard of BlueSnarfing, but how do they actually work? Cryptonomicon has a nice guide on Bluetooth hacking.

Bluejacking is a mostly harmless activity. Though it is an unintended use of a technical feature, most hard-core geeks do not find sufficient technical challenge in the activity. For the more serious hacker, looking to explore the security features of their Handset, more technically demanding sport is required.

The summary of the steps are:

1. have a read at the War Nibbling: Bluetooth Insecurity for an overview
2. get Bluez, a Bluetooth networking stack that runs on linux
3. investigate the security characteristics of your handset thru BlueTooth Security Database or BlueStumbler
4. use BlueSniff and RedFang to eavesdrop on BlueTooth conversations
5. and finally BTScanner to query your device and report common settings

Theyve got your number

They’ve Got Your Number

… your text messages and address book, and a way to bug your calls. Why spam, scams, and viruses are coming soon to a phone near you.

It’s a beautiful afternoon in Shepherd’s Bush, a bustling neighborhood on the outskirts of London, and Adam Laurie is feeling peckish. Heading out of the office, he’s about to pick up more than a sandwich. As he walks, he’ll be probing every cell phone that comes within range of a hidden antenna he has connected to the laptop in his bag. We stroll past a park near the Tube station, then wander into a supermarket. Laurie contemplates which sort of crisps to buy while his laptop quietly scans the 2.4-GHz frequency range used by Bluetooth devices, probing the cell phones nestled in other shoppers’ pockets and purses.

Laurie, 42, the CSO of boutique security firm the Bunker, isn’t going to mess with anyone’s phone, although he could: With just a few tweaks to the scanning program his computer is running, Laurie could be crashing cell phones all around him, cutting a little swath of telecommunications destruction down the deli aisle. But today Laurie is just gathering data. We are counting how many phones he can hack using Bluetooth, a wireless protocol for syncing cell phones with headsets, computers, and other devices.

We review the results of the expedition in a nearby pub. In the 17 minutes we wandered around, Laurie’s computer picked up signals from 39 phones. He peers at his monitor for a while. “It takes only 15 seconds to suck down somebody’s address book, so we could have had a lot of those,” he says at last. “And at least five of these phones were vulnerable to an attack.”

The “attack” Laurie mentions so casually could mean almost anything – a person using another person’s cell to make long distance calls or changing every phone number in his address book or even bugging his conversations. There are, he says, “a whole range of new powers” available to the intrepid phone marauder, including nasty viral attacks. A benign Bluetooth worm has already been discovered circulating in Singapore, and Laurie thinks future variants could be something really scary. Especially vulnerable are Europeans who use their mobile phone to make micropayments – small purchases that show up as charges on cell phone bills. A malicious virus maker bent on a get-rich-quick scheme could take advantage of this feature by issuing “reverse SMS” orders.

Bluetooth security has become a pressing issue in Europe, where the technology is ubiquitous. The problem will migrate to American shores as the protocol catches on here, too. But in the long run, Bluetooth vulnerabilities are manageable: Handset manufacturers can rewrite faulty implementations, and cell phone users will learn to be more careful. A far bigger security nightmare for the US is Internet telephony, which is fast being adopted for large corporations and is available to consumers through many broadband providers. Voice over IP is, by design, hacker-friendly. No enterprising criminals have dreamed up a million-dollar scam exploiting VoIP technology yet. But when they do, it likely won’t be something a simple patch can fix.

Bluetooth hacking is technically very different from VoIP hacking, but they’re both surging for the same basic reason. Increasingly, telephones have become indistinguishable from computers, which makes them more useful, but also more vulnerable. VoIP, which routes calls over the Internet, gives users the power to port their phone number anywhere, package voice messages into MP3s and receive them as emails, and make cheap international calls. Yet VoIP, like Bluetooth, exposes your telephone to the same ills that regularly befall a desktop box – worms, spam, crashes.

“It’s not like we’ve fixed the vulnerabilities on computers,” says security expert Bruce Schneier, author of Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World. “The phone network used to get its security from being closed, but VoIP phones will be just as bad as computers.”

Many of today’s hacks work because the traditional phone system was built on the premise that only large, monopolistic phone companies would be using it, and they would all play by the same rules. But the network isn’t the telcos’ private sandbox anymore; it can be manipulated and controlled by anybody who understands basic computer networking. The people who know this best are a new generation of phone hackers – aka phreakers – who aren’t interested in following the rules. They’re busy ripping apart the latest phones to discover what can make them turn against their owners. As the phone companies and handset makers lumber along, we can only hope that the phreaks in white hats figure out some fixes before the blackhats move in for the kill.

Laurie, whose laptop is now packed with information from vulnerable cell phones in the Shepherd’s Bush, has become infamous in Britain for conducting a similar experiment in the House of Parliament, where he had the opportunity (which he didn’t take) to copy the address books and calendars of several prominent politicians. That excursion resulted in a mandate that all Bluetooth devices be turned off in the House of Parliament.

As the inventor of “bluesnarfing,” a hack that uses Bluetooth to peek at data stored on cell phones, Laurie is dedicated to publicizing the danger of a wide-open Bluetooth connection. A bluesnarf attack can identify an unprotected phone and copy its entire address book, calendar, photos, and any other information that happens to be inside. Using a bluesnarf program, a phreak can also crash any phone within range by using Bluetooth to broadcast what Laurie calls “a corrupted message.”

Bluesnarf was born after Laurie scrutinized the code running some Bluetooth headsets his staff was using. He wasn’t happy with what he found. “Gaping security holes,” he says with a frown. Rebuffed by the cell phone companies to which he reported the problems, he conceived of bluesnarf as a publicity stunt, a tool that would dramatize the danger of owning these phones.

Compounding Bluetooth’s technical vulnerabilities are problems with the way people use it. Most folks leave Bluetooth on all the time, often because they don’t bother to learn how to turn it off. Even tech-savvy types tend to keep their connections open. “People have heard about ‘toothing,’ where strangers send each other flirtatious messages via Bluetooth,” he says. Hoping to get toothed, they risk an entirely different kind of penetration.

The risk doesn’t end with snarfing. Another way to use Bluetooth to hijack a phone completely is bluebugging, and Laurie gives me a quick demo. He runs the bluebug software on his laptop, and it quickly locates an Ericsson t610 phone he’s set on the table between us (not all phones can be bluebugged, but this model can). His computer connects to the phone and takes it over, remotely. Tapping the keyboard, Laurie sends the t610 a command to ring up the phone on his belt. It bleeps. He answers. We’ve got a bluebug.

Invented by Austrian researcher Martin Herfurt earlier this year, bluebugging is the perfect weapon for corporate spies. Let’s say you and I are competing for a big contract with an oil company. I want to hear everything that happens in your meeting with the VP of Massive Oil Inc., so I hire a blackhat phreak to take over your cell phone. Once he’s bluebugged it, I tell him to have your mobile call mine. The phone that’s sitting in your jacket pocket is now picking up everything you and the VP say during your conversation, and I can hear the prices you’re quoting as clear as a bell on my own phone. “A cell phone is the ultimate well-engineered bugging device,” Laurie says.

Unlike bluesnarfers, who need only some gear and know-how, the bluebugger first has to get your cell phone to pair with his computer, establishing a “trusted” data link. Laurie explains one crafty way to make this happen. “You just say, ‘Gee, that’s a cool phone, can I see it?’Punch a few buttons to establish the pairing, and hand it back.” As soon as the pairing is complete, the bluebugger can commandeer every aspect of the phone. He can initiate calls, send SMS messages, even overwrite the address book and contacts list.

Laurie’s revelation is disturbing, but the fact that phreakers need to approach and interact with their intended targets significantly cuts down on the number of victims. Yet British security consultant Ollie Whitehouse, whose Bluetooth-hunting program Redfang has made him a celebrity among phreakers, describes another a way to bluebug – a method that doesn’t demand the eavesdropper come into physical contact with the target’s phone. In this case, the trick is to sniff the data traffic traveling to and from a Bluetooth phone when it’s pairing with another device, like a headset. Armed with this information, an attacker can bluebug the phone by pretending to be the trusted device with which it regularly networks.

Cell phone companies argue that bluesnarfing and bluebugging are minor threats because Bluetooth is designed to work only over short distances, 20 feet or less, requiring attackers to be close to their targets.

Enter the Bluetooth sniper rifle. Made from $200 worth of off-the-shelf parts, the sniper is a Bluetooth antenna optimized for long-distance use. It can send and receive faint signals at more than a thousand yards. With the sniper – or a wireless weapon like it – bluesnarfers and bluebuggers no longer have to be in the same room as their targets. “By smashing any notion that distance is an issue,” says 24-year-old inventor Jon Hering, a student at the University of Southern California, “we showed that bluebugging is a real-world threat.”

Surely the phone companies must be doing something to protect us from all this. Keith Nowak, a spokesperson at Nokia, suggests “just turning off Bluetooth – or switching into hidden mode.”

Whitehouse laughs at that advice. Redfang, his signature phreak tool, is specifically designed to find Bluetooth devices in hidden mode. And given that so few people actually do turn off Bluetooth, their phones are susceptible to countless hacks – ones that Hering’s sniper rifle could launch from half a mile away.

The Default Radio boys, rock stars in the phreak underground, are onstage at DefCon, the venerable hacker conference that’s sort of a cross between the Ozzfest mosh pit and an after-hours party for NSA agents. Wearing baseball caps, T-shirts, and baggy jeans, the boys are doing a live version of their phreak-friendly streaming-audio talk show. The long table in front of them is covered with telephone equipment and computers.

A Defaulter using the nom de phreak Lucky225 steps up to the mike. With a phone tucked between his ear and shoulder and the keyboard under his fingers, he looks like a cross between a DJ and a telephone line repairman.

Lucky regales the audience with a tale about his favorite VoIP hack: He can make a VoIP phone display whatever caller ID number he chooses. To prove his point, he tells us he can impersonate “Jenny,” the girl from the pop song by Tommy Tutone.

Earsplitting static issues from the speakers, and suddenly we hear a thunderous dial tone. Lucky has routed his VoIP phone through the sound system. He dials MCI’s caller ID readback line, a service that identifies whatever number you’re calling from. A robotic voice slowly intones Lucky’s number: “eight-six-seven-five” – the crowd erupts, screams of laughter mingling with groans – “three-zero-nine.”

Having demonstrated his power over caller ID, Lucky proceeds to tell the phreak-packed auditorium how he spoofed the number. Turns out the whole thing is a social hack. A few days before, he called his service provider, Vonage, and told them he wanted to port all his cell phone calls to the Internet phone connected to his computer. His cell number is 867 5309, he lied, and Vonage believed him. Now it’s rerouting all calls made to Jenny on the Vonage network to Lucky.

Naturally, Vonage also set the caller ID on Lucky’s VoIP phone to Jenny’s number – so any time he dials out, it looks like he’s calling from 867 5309. A lot of systems depend on receiving accurate caller ID – credit card-activation lines, voicemail systems, even 911. So being able to control what a called party sees after you dial can be a potent weapon. Armed with your caller ID, an identity thief could order a new ATM card, activate it over the phone, and use it to empty your bank account. And, given that many voicemail boxes will play their contents to any phone with the right caller ID, you could be opening up your private life to anyone with a Vonage phone.

After the show, I ask Lucky why he got into the phreak scene. “Well,” Lucky deadpans, sketching out plans for a network of cans and rubber bands, “I wanted to start this elastic-based phone system ” He’s a prankster, but with a purpose – to make clear to the public that VoIP is a privacy nightmare. “Yup,” he concludes, still pondering voice over elastic, “I think this tin can shit is really going to take off.”

Steve Wozniak, the Apple computer pioneer whose phreak days began in the 1970s, says pranks are what it’s all about. “Those of us who have the phreaker mentality see playing with the world as fun, but in these times it’s hard for people to see us as harmless.”

Maybe so, but Vonage doesn’t seem too concerned. When I contact the company later to find out whether they know about Lucky’s caller ID trick and what they are doing to stop it, executive VP Louis Holder admits they’re not doing anything. “We allow people to do what he did,” Holder says. “We give people a temporary phone number before we verify it with the phone company, and verification takes a couple of weeks. Somebody could pick the White House number and pretend to be the president.”

Today’s phreaks have the power to crash the phone system – but they also have the power to rebuild it. Lucky’s joke about creating his own network out of tin cans and rubber bands isn’t that far from the truth. Slestak, Da Beave, and GiD are the crew behind Florida-based Telephreak.org, a free VoIP service that they’ve built to run on a roll-your-own, open source private branch exchange (PBX) system called Asterisk.

Typically used by businesses, a PBX consists of computers that route calls between what amounts to a phone intranet and the public telephone system. A company using a PBX might pay for 100 lines that service 500 employees, linking callers to the outside world, voicemail, or conferences by dynamically connecting phone calls using whichever landlines are open. In the past, all these connections would be managed by the phone company or a proprietary, closed black box in the server room. But with Asterisk, there’s no need for the phone company to manage your lines anymore. You can do it yourself.

The Telephreak crew has created its own private phone company for themselves and their friends – one that never sends a bill. Dial an access line to check voicemail, create conference calls, forward calls to other phones, even get a new number. And never pay a cent.

Currently, there are several hundred voicemail accounts, and the system can handle a hundred simultaneous calls. Although the Telephreak crew has to pay for connectivity to Ma Bell, the amount is so negligible that they’re willing to eat the money. It’s a small price to pay for freedom.

I’m talking to them on a Telephreak conference call, and the sound is a little fuzzy. Beave, identifiable by his slight southern twang, tells me he’s working on ironing out the bugs. It’s a little strange to know someone is manipulating your phone connection while talking to you. Suddenly, the sound is perfect. We’ve been rerouted. Slestak’s voice comes in loud and clear: “My connection to you guys right now is going across a cordless phone with a box to the server, then to Telephreak. My dial tone is coming from the West Coast.”

One of the best things about building your own PBX is that you can do what Slestak calls “chemistry experiments” with the phone system. Some PBX phreakers, like Telediablo, even provide a caller ID spoofing service: With it, there’s no need to lie to Vonage – you simply call up Telediablo’s PBX, plug in the number you want to use as your caller ID, then dial the party you want to trick. When I try out his little hack, I pick the number 666 6666. Next, I key in a nearby friend’s number. It rings. My friend shows me his caller ID window: Now I feel like a phreak. Instead of displaying my number, his phone is displaying the devil’s digits.

There are other PBX tricks – like caller ID unmasking, which can sometimes reveal the actual phone number of a caller, regardless of whether they’ve paid to have their number blocked. So if you think you’re anonymous on the telephone system, think again.

Probably the most unsettling discovery made by whitehat phreakers is that VoIP providers and wireless companies are willing to peddle phones and services that they know perfectly well are vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. After several months of bad publicity in the UK, where Laurie and Whitehouse are based, the cell phone companies are responding. Nokia and Sony Ericsson have issued patches, and Motorola says that its security flaws have been fixed in the newer models. And upstart VoIP provider Skype is marketing built-in encryption. Meanwhile, the Bluetooth Consortium – a group of industry leaders, including Nokia and Sony Ericsson, whose products incorporate Bluetooth – focused explicitly on security at its UnPlugFest in Germany last month. At the meeting, security experts (including Laurie) rated each company’s phones in terms of their resistance to common attacks. Still, nobody is tracking bluesnarf or bluebug attacks to measure the extent of the problem – nobody but the whitehat phreaks themselves.

Whitehouse has written a program he calls Sweet Tooth that can detect the signature radio signals sent by bluesnarfers. Modeled on honeypot programs that law enforcement and security analysts use to detect hackers on the Internet, Sweet Tooth could provide accurate statistics on how prevalent bluesnarf attacks really are. The program is ready for action, says Whitehouse. The question now is whether law enforcement and the phone companies will actually deploy it, however. Ignoring the problem is not going to make it better – especially because phone hacking is only going to get easier.

Bluetooth phreaking is just the beginning. The holes will get patched, but the problem won’t go away, because all the tools that hackers have spent decades developing will now be repurposed to hijack your phone. Next-generation handsets will have three entry points for the blackhats: If a snarfer can’t suck down your data with Bluetooth, he’ll try your Wi-Fi port, and if that doesn’t work, infrared.

“I guess that’s the price you pay for convergence,” Whitehouse says.

Source: Wired
By Annalee Newitz

A brief history of videotek!


Television
proved it was possible to send moving pictures along wires. This raised the further possibility of what had always sounded like a great idea – videophones on which callers could see as well as talk to each other. But there were some problems with that vision.

There was a technical problem. Television pictures carry a lot of signal information – more than ordinary phone lines can accommodate.

There was a human issue, too. The truth is that people don’t always want to be seen on the phone. But it took the pioneers of videophones a little while to learn that lesson.
World’s first videophone system (1964) : seeing as well as hearing A British videophone on trial, early 1970s

Videophones, transmitting a picture of the speaker as well as his or her voice, are older than most people think. Commercial systems were used in France and Germany during the 1930s but they were cumbersome and expensive.

Even the American company AT&T’s Picturephone of 1956 was crude – transmitting an updated still image only once every two seconds. By 1964 AT&T had developed a complete experimental system, the ‘Mod 1’. To test it, the public was invited to place calls between special exhibits at Disneyland and the New York World’s Fair. In both locations, visitors were carefully interviewed afterward by a market research agency.

The findings were not encouraging. It turned out people didn’t actually like Picturephone. It was too bulky, the controls too unfriendly, and the picture too small.
The first videophone service (1970) : a million within ten years…A videophone concept produced by Plessey, 1960s – the unit itself is a Connected Earth artefact, now in the National Museums of Scotland collection

Despite far from encouraging market research findings, AT&T executives in the USA were convinced that their Picturephone system would eventually be a winner. Following a six year trial, a commercial Picturephone service made its debut in Pittsburgh in 1970, with AT&T executives confidently predicting that a million sets would be in use by 1980.

They were wrong. Take-up was painfully slow and the service was later withdrawn. Despite its improvements, Picturephone was still big, expensive and uncomfortably intrusive. There was also doubt as to whether people actually wanted to be seen on the phone at all (indeed, there’s quite a lot of research in the industry which proves they don’t!).
First desktop videoconference system (1990) : attending virtual meetingsVideoconferencing

The Picturephone experiment in the USA during the early 1970s had been a failure. But by the 1990s four new factors had come together to make widespread videoconferencing a realistic proposition. These were: the growing use of the personal computer (PC) placed a screen on virtually every desktop; falling prices for image capture devices connected to PCs making digital photography and video affordable; use of the Internet provided a low-cost means of connecting voice, images and people in real time over unlimited networks; and last – but not least – international standards ratified in 1996 and 1998 ensuring the compatibility of all equipment.

In fact, the first PC-based video phones were demonstrated by IBM and PictureTel as early as 1991 but the system was expensive and the results less than convincing. Even today videoconferencing is by no means universal, partly because the extra equipment necessary to provide full-screen pictures and sound as good as normal television costs as much as the PC itself and requires a special ISDN or broadband telephone line.
Relate 2000 videophone (1990s) : here’s looking at youRelate 2000 videophone – a Connected Earth artefact, now in the Amberley Museum

Videophones have been a dream for many years, and with this telephone the dream almost became reality. This videophone was the first one BT made commercially available, in the 1990s. It promised callers the chance to see, and be seen by, the person they were talking to.

The snag was it didn’t work very well. The technology of the telephone was good, but the network’s bandwidth wasn’t broad enough to carry all the pictures, sound and colours at once. A caller could see the person but the image would shift very jerkily from one frame to another, which was quite disconcerting.

The telephone was designed with a flip-up screen on the right, where the video played. They were available for £500 each or two for £900 – but with such poor image quality, and with so few others having them, take up was minimal.

The Bluejack Heist @ Waterloo

The Big Bluejack Heist at Waterloo

It was this thrilling experience for a teenager which inspired Ellie, a 13 year old girl from Guildford, Surrey to launch BluejackQ.com earlier this month. �Bluejacking� or ‘Bjing’ is the sport of ‘hijacking’ people’s mobile phone via their Bluetooth wireless connection within a 10 metre range. Ellie now makes bluejacking a daily pastime and details her conquests online. “I say that people should only Bluejack someone who takes it in good spirit, if not walk away and find someone else,” she says.

Ellie now makes bluejacking a daily pastime after getting the idea from somebody with the username ‘ajack’ on the Esato mobile phone forums. Her interested was sparked when she sent a man in a local Starbucks a note asking how his coffee was and complementing his wife’s glasses. Several notes later, and pursued into a local shopping mall by his unseen attacker, the man was still bemused by the whole thing, even asking a mall security guard what was going on.

This simple use of mobiles and Bluetooth could spark a world-wide phenomenon. And like SMS, Bluetooth was designed for something quite different to Bluejacking.

Unveiled in 1998, Bluetooth is designed to replace cables between other mobiles as well headsets, home computers and printers. Bluetooth transits in the 2.4GHz radio frequency waveband and can can transfer data at speeds of up to 720Kbps within a range of 10 metres, but future versions could transmit up to 100 metres with a power boost.

Bluejacking is fairly simple. Turn your phone’s Bluetooth on and allow it to be ‘discoverable’ by other Bluetooth phones. Create a contact in your address book using your message as the name, with a message such as ‘you’ve been Bluejacked!’. Search for a Bluetooth-enabled phones within range and send the contact to them.

It’s also possible to send a photo, perhaps of yourself, to your bluejack victim. More sinisterly one might take a mobile camera picture of the victim and send it to them via the Bluetooth connection. Good spots for bluejacking are anywhere crowds of people gather, and it’s even possible to Bluejack in underground stations.

Although it sounds new, the idea of a ‘discoverable’ personalised device has been around for a while. Several years ago a device was developed in Japan enabling two like-minded people to be alerted when someone else matching their profile was nearby. The idea never really took off, but with ubiquitous Bluetooth phones, the idea’s time may have come given that it is entirely free to access – no 10p text messages or finding your prospective lover lives 200 miles away.

But knowing what people are capable of, Bluejacking could easily have a darker side than mere teenage pranks. Unsolicited messaging is unlikely to be welcomed and technically illegal. And without the filter of having to sign up to an SMS service, Bluejacking would be an entirely unregulated means of communication. Similar to the Internet, but unlike the Internet, used to communicate with strangers less than ten metres away from where you stand.

However, to oil the wheels of anonymity ibluejackedyou.com offers users the ability to register and make their user name their Bluejacking alias.

The practice could even – eventually – lead to prostitutes using a form of Bluejacking to find clients, and vice versa. The possibilities for sexual harrassment, illegal commercial spamming and sheer annoyance are, unfortunately, endless, although it’s possible to block anonymous messaging. There is also the problem of accidentally sending your phone number with your Bluejack message, exposing yourself to nuisance calls.

But until more nefarious uses are discovered, Bluejacking offers several possibilities for relatively safe social interaction.

Mike Grenville of 160 Characters, the UK’s messaging industry body, even suggests that Bluejacking could be used to invite people to play mobile games with eachother on crowded commuter trains, but virtually anonymously.

And you could see gaming commuters sooner than you think. Although right now Forrester Research says only 9 percent of mobiles in Europe have the facility. But according to a new Frost & Sullivan report Bluetooth devices in 2003 will double to 70 million units, driven mainly by developers creating new applications for Bluetooth. At the same time the free-to-use ‘bluejacking’ could well act as a catalyst to get consumers asking for Bluetooth phones.

Of course, the 55 Million text messages sent a day between people in the UK last June are hardly under threat from a technology which can only send messages 10 meters. It would be simpler to just shout. But anecdotal evidence suggests Bluejacking is taking off amongst teenagers � the traditional harbingers of new forms of communication. A poll on mobile community Esato.com this month registered over 28% of visitors as having Bluejacked someone.

New businesses are emerging to take advantage Bluejacking in particular. TagText.com is a UK firm which is taking advantage of the ability to send images as well as text over Bluetooth to create illustrated digital characters which teenagers can download to their mobiles and use for Bluejacking. At the moment the service is free but there are plans to start charging via premium rate SMS to download the characters. So far ‘several thousand’ images have been downloaded already according to CEO Russell Buckley.

The are also opportunities for so-called ‘viral marketing’, allowing cutting edge brands to circulate advertising; virtual flirting; electronic couponing and promotional messaging based on location.

There is also the possibility that Bluetooth phones could present new opportunities for software developers to create applications for linking Bluetooth phones – a network known as a �piconet�.

Bluetooth can maintain links with no more than seven other devices simultaneously, but link more than one device and pretty soon you have a viable network. Turn that into a �mesh� network and you have a completely alternative method for messaging outside of the operator network. Earlier this year BT put it�s mesh computing trial on hold, but the technology could be viable long term.

There is a device which already does this, but it�s a child�s toy. The Cybiko – a kind of game-boy with a radio – was invented in 1999. Users can send files (including music, games and applications) between two Cybikos, and users can chat and game with other Cybikos within a range of 50m indoors up to 100m outdoors. They can also transmit through each other to extend the range, similar to a re-transmitter. In other words messages can hop between devices – the bigger the number of users spread out across an area like a city, the bigger the range.

But there are also potential software problems. Some hackers have found flaws in the authentication or data transfer mechanisms on some bluetooth enabled devices, enabling confidential data to be obtained from phones anonymously. If Bluejacking takes off significantly there could even be major headaches for data theft as well as implications for sensitive data and phone numbers held on the phones of VIPs, such as politicians.

But is Bluejacking just a fad? Something for teenagers to play with in crowded areas? SMS was dismissed early on by the analysts, who saw only its business applications. But it’s the seemingly frivilous application which capture peoples� imagination. No-one quite predicted, for instance, that someone would invent a Bluetooth-enabled miniature radio controlled car for �desktop� racing.

If Bluejacking really does go mainstream, people in theory will start to disable Bluetooth on their phones for fear of harassment, leaving the Bluejackers to harrass eachother. But for a while it will be easy hunting, and perhaps new social connections will be formed, incentivising the transformation of Bluejacking into something more worthwhile.

But for now, there is the sheer thrill of being a teenage Bluejacker on the loose.

As Ellie herself writes on BlueJackQ.com: “What an experience! As I began to wonder how many more bluejacking opportunities I would get in the day ahead of me, I was politely reminded by my dad that we didn’t come to London to spend a whole day at Waterloo station bluejacking. Maybe one day though, just maybe.”

(A shorter version of this article was published in the Irish Times, 28 November 2003).

This story has also been quoted by:
Gizmodo : Bluejacking: more than a fad?
em-brof: Bluejacking Explained
Feedster Search: mbites bluejacking

MarketingWonk: Bluejacking – The Next Buzz Thing

Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent: Bluechalking
BlueChalking: the wardriving of Bluetooth(Wi-Fi or WiFi…)
Corante: Bluejacking: Bluetooth Proximity Messaging
By Mike Butcher at 28 Nov 2003

Bluechalking!

Fun & Games From Mbites:

“I figure if Warchalking – the practice of “marking a series of symbols on sidewalks and walls to indicate nearby wireless access” – got such a lot of press, why not Bluechalking?

Bluechalking is the invented-by-me-but-as-yet-non-existent-practice of marking a Bluetooth symbol on sidewalks/pavements and walls to indicate that someone with a Bluetooth-enabled phone is often in the area, using the Bluetooth symbol and your phone’s ‘name’.

The idea would be to explore an entirely new kind of wireless social interaction. A kind of consensual Bluejacking.”