Security researchers nibble at Bluetooth

Thursday, 19 June 2003, 10:20 AM EST

On Tuesday the organization responsible for the Bluetooth wireless standard unveiled version 1.2 of its official spec at the Bluetooth World Congress in Amsterdam. But for real evidence that that the technology is finally gaining acceptance turn to the conference program for this summer's DefCon hacker convention, or the front page of the Packetstorm security tools site. After years of neglect, security researchers are beginning to gently sink their teeth into the technology.

Developed as a low-power, low-cost replacement for printer cables and Palm-style infrared beaming, Bluetooth operates on the same unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum as 802.11, but has a much smaller range. It's found mostly in Europe, in mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, and wireless headsets, among other things.

The technology has been slower to infiltrate North America, but a slew of Bluetooth-friendly announcements this month from the likes of HP, Microsoft and, on Tuesday, cell phone-maker Qualcomm all suggest that Bluetooth is poised for wide adoption in Canada and the States. At the same time, June saw a Bluetooth announcement of a different kind in the computer security world: the release of the first hacking tool aimed at the technology.

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