What is Bluejacking? - Definition, Tools & Prevention

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at bluejacking, what it is, why it is important, some tools used to detect it, and how we might go about preventing it.

Information Overload

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by information. We see it when we read the newspaper with our morning coffee. We exchange it as we progress through the various activities of our day, and we pass by it on billboards when we drive. It's getting to the point where it's difficult to find a moment where information isn't intruding on us in some fashion. But if this is true, how does one go about getting their message heard? How do they differentiate what they are saying from others? It isn't easy, and there are various methods that have been tried and used. One of the more focused ways is through bluejacking.

What is Bluejacking?

Bluejacking is the sending of unsolicited messages, anonymously, over a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is a wireless connection technology, that over short distances, provides high-speed communication between Bluetooth enabled devices. As an example, consider the situation where you are walking along in a shopping mall, looking at the various store fronts. You pull out your cell phone and start using it. While you are doing this, a person walks along behind you, creates a Bluetooth connection to your cell phone, and anonymously sends you a series of messages.

Annoying to be sure, but it's important to note that contrary to what the name implies, the sender does not actually take control of your phone. The messages sent can range from anonymous admiration to business opportunities. Think of it as another form of spam.

Why is Bluejacking Important?

As you might imagine, bluejacking can be a problem. Not so much because we lose control of our devices or our information gets compromised, but because it's uninvited and invasive. The messages appear without your control or consent. And, you don't know who they are from. What would your reaction be to receiving a message that complimented you on your hair, or admired the clothes you were wearing? You might be flattered or curious. But what if the message was racially oriented, or sexually explicit? Chances are you'd be creeped out! The fact is that while bluejacking has some positive aspects, the negative aspects far outweigh them.

Tools Used to Detect Bluejacking

Fortunately, detecting Bluejacking isn't that difficult. Tools you can use include the following:

  • Know Who's Around You - Bluejacking requires attackers to be close. Suspicious people close to you with devices in their hands are potential problems.
  • Pay Attention - The messages will appear on your device. The sooner you realize they are there, the sooner you can take steps.
  • Review Message Logs - Devices like cell phones keep logs of the messages received. Review them regularly. Any anonymous activity may mean you were bluejacked.

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