Bluetooth SIG Talks Security
By Eric Lin, Tue May 11 08:15:00 GMT 2004

Bluetooth has had a busy spring. There's enough Bluetooth devices that analysts have declared it's finally gone mainstream. Meanwhile enterprising hackers have found a loophole in a few of these newly mainstreamed devices.

Bluetooth phones have finally gained decent market share -- and mind share -- even in the US. Most users probably just use it to talk on headsets or in-car hands free kits. However this also means those same users have activated Bluetooth on their handsets, leaving them open to certain vulnerabilities.

When Wi-Fi was young, offices brimming with early adopters plugged in an access point, unwittingly opening their corporate networks to malicious attacks. After a few mishaps and some subsequent warnings, companies began securing their networks -- protecting their Wi-Fi networks with passwords or more secure means.

Today the Bluetooth SIG held a conference to help IT pros begin addressing vulnerabilities in specific handsets. In addition to the possibility of Bluesnarfing, IT staff and their users need to be educated how to secure handsets, both over Bluetooth and in general.

It's likely Bluetooth will still have more growing pains -- new exploits or new issues. But as with other popular wireless technologies, it is over the hump. There are now too many devices using it for anyone to suggest that Bluesnarfing or 802.11 interference can toll the death knell for Bluetooth.