Many Bluetooth gadgets open to wireless snooping

Tuesday, 12 August 2003, 4:19 PM EST

A new software tool could allow sensitive data could be pilfered through the air from laptops, mobile phones and handheld computers.

An eavesdropper can use the program to identify nearby devices that use the Bluetooth wireless protocol. If the gadget's default security settings mean the device is unprotected, data can easily be stolen. Bluetooth connects devices within a range of 15 metres and is now a standard feature on many devices.

Ollie Whitehouse, a UK-based researcher with computer security firm @Stake, created the tool "Red Fang", to highlight the potential dangers of running poorly configured Bluetooth gadgets. He says many people may be unaware that they have Bluetooth installed and that security features are often switched off.

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