>>Mobile Security Systems
>> Protecting bluetooth devices
You have probably read various news stories regarding
bluesnarfing, bluejacking, bluebugging, or the Cabir
worm in the press over the past six months.
Journalists, security consultants, manufacturers, and
the Bluetooth SIG have all expressed concern
regarding the security of devices that use Bluetooth
wireless technology. While Bluetooth wireless
technology is fundamentally secure, keeping Bluetooth
enabled devices secure is a team effort. The Bluetooth
SIG, manufacturers, and you, the user, each has a role
in ensuring the security of your Bluetooth
enabled devices. As a user of Bluetooth
enabled devices, you should understand the basics of
securely using a PDA, phone, etc. that can connect
wirelessly to other consumer electronics.
Bluetooth wireless technology has, from its
inception, put great emphasis on wireless security so
that users of this global standard can feel secure
while making their connections. The Bluetooth
Special Interest Group (SIG), made up of over 3000
member manufacturers, has a Bluetooth Security Experts
Group made up of engineers from its member companies,
which provide critical security information and
feedback that is taken into account as the Bluetooth
wireless specification evolves.
Do not accept files transmitted via Bluetooth
wireless technology or any other technology from
unknown or suspicious entities. Mobile devices
are quickly gaining the processing power and
connectivity similar to those of personal
computers, so you should treat your mobile
devices similar to how you treat your computer.
Do not download or install unknown or suspicious
software. If you cannot trust where a file or
program came from, do not download or install
it. If your device gives a security warning
during installation of recently downloaded
software, carefully consider if you want to
Can you see me now?
enabled devices allow you to choose
whether or not your device is visible to other devices. Do
you have a phone vulnerable to bluesnarfing or bluebugging?
Does bluejacking annoy you? Are you just generally concerned
about whether your device can be seen? If so, you can put
your device into a non-discoverable state (most devices have
this option) so that you are invisible to other Bluetooth
devices. This will have no impact on device functionality of
paired devices and you can continue to enjoy the benefits of
wireless technology. However, in order to
receive business contacts wirelessly via Bluetooth
technology, you will need to place your phone in
What's in a Name?
Often new devices are assigned self-identifying names that
are visible when the device is in discoverable mode. You can
easily change that name, making it as anonymous and cool as
Keep the Bugs Out
Smart phone and PDA users are recommended to install
appropriate anti-virus software, much in the same way they
would on their computers, and keep the anti-virus software
updated. Many believe that mobile devices like smart phones
and PDAs are the next frontier for viruses, worms, and
Trojan horses. Security firms like F-Secure
offer anti-virus software for smart phones and PDAs.
Keep Up to Date
Similar to the security updates for your computer's
operating system that you download, you should lookout for
security patches from your phone's manufacturer and take
advantage of these fixes to minimize your phone's
vulnerability. Manufacturers have released software updates
for phones vulnerable to the bluesnarf and bluebug attacks.
For information on how to obtain these fixes for your device
contact the manufacturer of your phone.
Knowledge is Power
When you buy your mobile device, read the section in the
manual on Bluetooth
wireless technology —
discover how to turn it on and off, how to adjust security
settings, and how to pair with other devices. If you cannot
find the manual or have questions not answered within the
manual, you should try online or contact the manufacturer's
customer and technical support teams.
Let's Get Together
Typically, when you have two Bluetooth
personal devices, you establish a secure connection between
the two devices, this is referred to as 'pairing.' Pairing
allows you full access on one device to the shared services
on the other device. Do not pair with unknown devices - that
will give the unknown device access to all your services.
You may be required to enter in a PIN code in the pairing
process. If you have the option, you should choose at
minimum eight character alphanumeric PIN codes and pair the
devices in a private setting. If you are asked in a message
to enter in a PIN code, but are not sure what device sent
the message — do not enter the PIN code, it could be a
disguised pairing request sent from an unknown, malicious
device. If your devices become unpaired while you are in
public, wait until you are in a private, secure location
before repairing your devices if possible.
Managing your Bluetooth
If one of your Bluetooth enabled devices is lost or
stolen, you should unpair that device with all the devices
to which it was previously paired. To do that, you will have
to delete the lost device from the list of paired devices on
your remaining Bluetooth enabled electronics,
computers, and handhelds. If you fail to accomplish this,
the lost or stolen device will still be able to access all
the services of paired devices within range.
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