Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


A gun … for wireless networking? It’s weird, but it’s true. A few years ago, John Hering — who’s now the CEO of Lookout — built a data-sniping rifle that could hack its way into the Bluetooth networks used by most cellular phones. It caused quite a stir with security pundits. He showed how to sniff out a Bluetooth signal, tap into a phone and steal data — from across the block or even from an airplane overhead.

The hack is still possible today, says Hering, who believes the idea of such long-range hacks is growing, not disappearing. And the only way to block them is to use only Bluetooth devices that require a passcode and turn off “discoverable” mode (usually a quick setting on your phone). And more important, turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it.

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