Bluetooth: Safety First

Bluetooth Discovery
With all the discussions about WiFi safety, we sometimes forget that the other wireless protocol, Bluetooth, needs to be secured too.

I was trying to pair a new Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse with a MacBook over Bluetooth this evening in my hotel room. I was a bit surprised to see someone else’s Bluetooth enabled notebook show up in addition to my new mouse. I shouldn’t have been, of course, Bluetooth has a 10 meter range (or greater depending on the hardware used) and can penetrate walls. And, this person left his notebook’s Bluetooth radio in Discover mode. Since 10 meters is a bit larger than 30 feet and these hotel rooms are not larger than 30 feet long, I could see the notebook.
The moral to this story is to check your devices: Notebooks, PDAs, phones, etc. Then, make sure Discover mode is turned off except when you need to have the device probed by some other Bluetooth device for pairing.