How Bluetooth Surveillance Works

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How Bluetooth Surveillance Works
Inside this Article
1. How Bluetooth Surveillance Works 2. Bluetooth Discoverability 3. Bluetooth Positioning and Tracking

How Bluetooth Surveillance Works
If you were to randomly pick up a piece of electronics equipment in your house, there's a reasonable chance that it has Bluetooth capabilities, especially if the gadget in question is fairly new. Whether it's a cell phone, smartphone, laptop, printer or keyboard, Bluetooth wireless technology has made life easier for those of us with too many electronics on our hands. Bluetooth devices get rid of frustrating wires and expensive adapters by using short-range radio signals to connect devices to each other and send information back and forth.

If you own a Bluetooth device, can someone trace your activity

Bluetooth is especially common in mobile phones, which make up more
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Maybe you're just doing some casual window shopping. Bluetooth headsets. it's the very nature of Bluetooth -. http://10. though. for instance. right? Such a thing is possible. so headsets and other Bluetooth accessories use very little in the way of batteries. This allows other Bluetooth phones to locate you. phones usually operate at the former. we'll want to take a look at how Bluetooth itself works and understand what makes the technology traceable. your phone beeps: Someone's sent you a text message. although simply a harmless prank." but is that really the idea? How does Bluetooth surveillance work.which has some people concerned.How Bluetooth Surveillance Works Page 2 of 6 than 60 percent of the Bluetooth market . In fact. laptops at the latter. Because Bluetooth devices are to some degree traceable.this allows you to keep your phone in your pocket. While any two Bluetooth devices can share data at a range between 10 and 100 meters (33 and 328 feet). scientific and medical devices. It reads: "We know where you are.102/hsw/bluetooth_surveillance. It's also helpful to drivers wanting to cruise around hands-free . allows Bluetooth users to send out unsolicited messages to nearby devices. and you've kept your phone with you and left Bluetooth on "discoverable" mode. Imagine. and who would use it? Can it be used for good or for evil? To learn about Bluetooth surveillance and whether or not you should remain discoverable. Security has long been an issue with this technology -. The band is unlicensed for low-power use. for example. read on.a technology that can search for and locate other devices that also have Bluetooth -. talking a walk through a crowded area -.htm 6/30/2010 .5. The phrase Bluetooth surveillance might conjure up images of Big Brother in George Orwell's dystopian novel of the future. and it's happened before. Bluetooth Discoverability Before we dive into Bluetooth surveillance. Bluetooth devices use the free. which stands for industrial. Having fun shopping?" Sounds like something out of a movie. transmit calls from your phone to the headset in your ear -.perhaps the shopping district of a big city. 2. Any Bluetooth device can communicate with up to seven other devices at a time. the concept of Bluetooth surveillance has been introduced into the tech world. backpack or handbag while walking around. "1984. As you linger in front of a shoe store and consider a new pair.4gigahertz radio band known as ISM .4.bluejacking.

where you can select whether or not your phone or laptop is visible to others within the area.10.htm 6/30/2010 . After you turn any Bluetooth-capable device on. or is there a simpler way? To learn how a Bluetooth surveillance network is set up. a unique 48-bit identifier with six bytes of information that might look like this: 01:23:45:67:89.4.102/hsw/bluetooth_surveillance. Every device has its own address." This information is typically found in the "settings" option of a device's control panel. it helps to get a few sorted out. read the next page. These make each device entirely unique. If several Bluetooth devices are set on discoverable mode. The first three bytes (01:23:45) are assigned to the specific manufacturer of the device.How Bluetooth Surveillance Works Page 3 of 6 Keeping a Bluetooth device in "discoverable" mode allows other gadgets with Bluetooth to locate it within a certain range. http://10. so long as they remain within range. the most basic security feature on it is the ability to go into one of two modes: "discoverable" or "non-discoverable. they all have the ability to search for and locate each other.5. while the last three bytes (67:89:10) are assigned by the manufacturer. So how could someone track your movement if you left your phone on discoverable? Would they have to follow you around all day long. Since many terms related to Bluetooth surveillance use some variation of the Bluetooth brand name.

on the other hand.How Bluetooth Surveillance Works Page 4 of 6 Bluejacking. happens when an attacker reads. changes or copies information from a person's phone. Could shopping mall stores do this to track http://10. If you wanted to track a specific address." the username of the Malaysian IT who discovered the glitch and spread the news over the Internet. a prank that involves sending fellow Bluetooth users unsolicited text messages. doesn't actually have anything to do with hijacking. which is most likely a 10 -meter (33-foot) circle around you. Bluesnarfing. More serious infringements of bluesnarfing include taking over someone's phone and using it to make phone calls. Setting up a network of Bluetooth receivers that record the locations of spec Bluetooth surveillance possible.4. address book or calendar. Bluejacking. such as a phone book.5. although potentially irritating to users who don't want any part of the joke. you'd have to visually locate that person's physical device and follow it around all day.102/hsw/bluetooth_surveillance. send text messages or surf the Web. But you could only monitor the people moving in and out of your Bluetooth's range. The term is simply a hybrid of Bluetooth and "ajack. which would easily blow your cover.htm 6/30/2010 . won't harm or steal anyone's information. even though the name implies it. Bluetooth Positioning and Tracking Locating several Bluetooth users with a typical mobile phone is relatively simple: You just turn on your phone and search for every discoverable device.

Although it wouldn't present a perfectly accurate description of a person's movement. the second for the next 20 meters. special "Bluetags" were made available to prevent parents from losing valuable belongings that tend to wander off -. Instead. Each Bluetooth receiver acts like any regular Bluetooth device: It searches for every device within range.How Bluetooth Surveillance Works Page 5 of 6 Creating a Bluetooth surveillance network solves this problem. If a person walked down a 100-meter-long (328-foot-long) street and each Bluetooth receiver had a range of 10 meters. So how have people used this system to track people? One of the earliest uses of Bluetooth positioning and tracking technology is the Aalborg Zoo. if you're concerned that someone might be able to track you down via Bluetooth. http://10.their children. the first receiver would track him for the length of the first 20 meters.5. If several Bluetooth-enabled receivers are strategically placed to cover a large area. It's difficult for someone to use Bluetooth to identify you in particular. The point of installing the system was not to put the zoo's patrons under surveillance or to see which exhibitions people went to more often. A parent could attach a "Bluetag" onto a child. unless you've chosen to include your name or some other personally identifiable information in the name of your phone. Some people worry about others using this sort of technology illegally and maliciously. could install a Bluetooth surveillance system throughout its entire area to monitor the movements of Bluetooth owners. store owners could analyze shopper's behavior and change advertisement positions accordingly without anyone ever knowing. A shopping mall. and Bluetooth receivers around the zoo would track the child's movement.htm 6/30/2010 . As he walked toward the street. the largest zoological garden in Denmark. they can track the positions of any discoverable device. the system could create a general map of his path and even compare how long someone stays in a certain area.102/hsw/bluetooth_surveillance. recording and sending any data back to a single address. five receivers with a radius of 20 meters (66 feet) would be needed to track that person's movement. the best defense is to make your device non-discoverable to others when not using it. and so on for the length of the street. smart phone or PDA. With this knowledge. Still. for example.4.

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