There once was an old Norwegian king named Harold . He is basically remembered for some big rocks, and for the fact that he had dark hair - unusual for the Vikings (not those Vikings.) At some point, for some reason, some one decided to call him "Bluetooth":
"The origin of the name "Bluetooth" is unknown, and may not even have been used during the king's lifetime. It may refer to an actual physical trait, but this is far from certain." sayeth the Wikipedia.
Flash forward a few kajillion years and a bunch of folks decide that infrared wireless interfaces were boring, and they decided it would be fun to start a whole new way to make it difficult to connect things to computers. They thought of those rocks, were inspired, came up with the name Bluetooth and proceeded to hype it up as it were the next coming of Velcro.
Basically, instead of just admitting it was just a cheaper way to do cable replacement, the wireless manufacturers quickly tried to turn it into Personal Area Networking, even though it was not a network technology any more than your TV remote control is a network technology.
One of the many things Bluetooth was missing was any reasonable form of security. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group kept nodding and talking about sprinkling security on later, but moving those big rocks is a daunting task. Oopsies, too late - two Israelis came up with a very feasible attack for connecting to anyone's Bluetooth device.
But those sparkling Bluetooth SIG folks weren't asleep at the switch. They quickly came up with some killer advice to blunt the potential attack:
When pairing devices for the first time, do so in private at home or in the office and avoid public places;
- Always use an eight character alphanumeric PIN (personal identification number) code as the minimum. The more characters within the code, the more difficult it is to crack;
- If your devices become unpaired in a public place, wait until you are in a private, secure location before re-pairing them.
Additional tips on how to use Bluetooth wireless technology securely are available at: www.bluetoothcom/help/security.asp.
So, here's the scenario: you are using your Bluetooth headset with your cellphone while you ride the subway (after you paired the phone and the headset at home in your Tempest shielded room) and the devices become unpaired. So, you go into the tiny little bathroom on the train, wrap your self in aluminum foil, enter your 8 digit alphanumeric (including upper/lower case and special characters - hard to remember, but luckily you have chosen your last name as your PIN) PIN into the phone to safely re-pair. Whew - you outwitted those tricky hackers.
Pulleeze - fix the freaking technology. Don't publish nonsense recommendations. I can just imagine Ford giving the same recommendations to consumers on what to do about the Pinto's gas tank problems:
When driving a Pinto for the first time, do so in private at home or in the office and avoid public places, or anywhere that any one else might actually want to drive near you;
- Always use an ratio of 8 parts water (or other non-flammable ingredient) to each part gasoline as the minimum. The more water within the gas tank, the more difficult it is to explode;
- If your you absolutely have to drive in a public place, wait until you are in a private, secure location before removing your asbestos suit.
Additional tips on how to use Bluetooth wireless technology securely are available at: www.you -will-die-in-a-ball-of-firecom/help/security.asp.