What is Bluesnarfing? - 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 learn about Bluesnarfing, a type of information theft that occurs over a Bluetooth connection. Learn what it is, why it is important, some tools used to detect it, and how we might go about preventing it.

What is Bluesnarfing?

We live in a world where information dominates all, a world where our use of information helps us move things forward. For the most part, this is a good thing. Access to information helps us make better decisions, enrich our lives, and improve the lives of those around us. But there is also a dark side to information, a place in the shadows where there are those that wish to exploit other people's information. Some are simply nosy, while others steal information for personal gain. The latter are more significant because they can have far-reaching effects. And, one way thieves accomplish this is through Bluesnarfing.

Bluesnarfing is information theft that occurs over a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is a wireless connection technology that provides high-speed access between various devices over short distances. Theft of this type exploits a weakness in some mobile Bluetooth implementations and allows unauthorized access to personal information. Consider the situation where you are sitting on a two-sided park bench, just enjoying the fresh air. You pull out your cell phone and start using it. While you are doing this, a person sits behind you, creates a Bluetooth connection to your cell phone, and captures the information stored on it. All without you noticing!

Why is Bluesnarfing Important?

As you might imagine, Bluesnarfing can be problematic. It exposes things like email, contact lists, and text messages to prying eyes. And these eyes may have less than honorable motives. Examples include an individual who doesn't like you being able to read the contents of your personal text messages, the paparazzi gaining access to emails sent between movie stars, or thieves capturing important contact information from a Fortune 500 CEO. And, all without their knowledge or approval. The results can range from uncomfortable to catastrophic. Clearly, some method to protect yourself against this type of threat is needed.

Tools to Detect Bluesnarfing

Unfortunately, detecting Bluesnarfing isn't easy. It is better, by far, to prevent it. As far as detecting it, consider the following:

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