November 02, 2005, 3:23 PM — During the Network World Remote Office Technology Tour stop in Washington D.C. last spring, my friend Chuck W. ambushed me with a security question: How do you keep Bluetooth secure? I immediately blurted, "stay at least thirty feet away from everyone."
Unfortunately, that's been about the only security help Bluetooth fans had until now. AirMagnet (.com), the wireless security folks, just released BlueSweep, a free utility.
BlueSweep promises to identify every local Bluetooth device, show interconnections between Bluetooth devices, and identify all services available on each device. Are these security gaps in your company today? Maybe. Could Bluetooth devices become serious security problems? Absolutely.
As the PAN (Personal Area Network) develops and early adopters buy Bluetooth-enabled devices like phones, MP3 players, and who knows what else, security will become critical. Does your VP of Sales walk through airport terminals yakking on a cell phone? Absolutely. Can anyone eavesdrop? Not easily. But what if someone could eavesdrop while walking 10 to 20 feet behind? What if a competitor could hear the conversation by sitting in the same airport bar four tables away? Oops.
Personal space may take on a new meaning if PANs become all the rage. It's hard to stay out of earshot of anyone while talking business on a cell phone today, so how could your executives stay 30 feet away from everyone else in an airport terminal? They can't, that's how, and you know they won't stop using their cell phones.
If you thought keystroke loggers were a problem today, what about when Bluetooth keyboards become trendy in Executive Row? Any device anywhere in the room could see every keystroke. Bluetooth MP3 players probably won't divulge many corporate secrets, unless your CFO worries his boy band obsession will make him a blackmail target.
Will AirMagnet's BlueSweep free utility (no support, but there is a decent FAQ and KnowledgeBase) make your Bluetooth users secure? No, but at least you'll know what services are turned on and how insecure each Bluetooth device is today. Training your executives to be aware of their security gaps remains beyond my purview and that of AirMagnet, so good luck.