What is bluejacking?
Bluejacking is slang for the hijacking of a bluetooth device. This however is misleading. What you are in fact doing is sending a message to another bluetooth-enabled device anonymously.
How does it work?
Bluetooth is a communications technology, which allows enabled devices to communicate with each other wirelessly over a short distance of no more than ten meters. It was created to allow laptops, PDAs, mobile phones and other peripherals to send data to each other without the need to plug everything in to each other and trail wires everywhere.
A bluetooth capable device is able to scan its surroundings (10m radius) for any other bluetooth-enabled devices. It then lists those it 'discovered' for you.
Most bluetooth capable devices are disabled by default as bluetooth tends to drain the batteries and is therefore mainly used when you wish to communicate with other equipment. However you will find that most people leave it switched on so they don't have to fiddle about with the settings every time they want to turn it on or off.
How do you bluejack?
First enable bluetooth on your device (for this article I was using a Sony Ericsson P800 mobile phone). Consult your manual on how to do this. For the P800 it was just a case of Control Panel > Bluetooth > Settings. Set the operation mode to 'On', and enter a name for your device such as 'The Master'. You can set your own device to 'Ask first' when receiving items.
Next you create the message that you want to send to the other person. To do this just create a new contact in your phone book whose name is your message. 'You have been bluejacked' is a popular one.
When you are next in an area that you know one or two people will be with a modern phone or bluetooth device - Crowded areas are popular such as coffee shops, train stations or even technology shows - Go to your contact list and select your message and then 'Send As' and 'Bluetooth'. Your device will now scan the vacinity for other bluetooth enabled devices and list them. Select the ones (or all) that you want to send the message to and select Send.
Hopefully you have not been obvious in your actions and you have casually slipped your device out of sight as you innocently look around to see whose device has started beeping at them followed by the confused look on their face as their device says:
'You have been bluejacked' was received from The Master. Accept?
Note of caution
I wrote this article upon discovering bluejacking and considered it an amusing way of passing the time when sat in a coffee shop or waiting for a train. In fact just actively scanning for nearby bluetooth enabled devices and reading the silly names that some people call their devices caused me to smile. Sending 'Hello there' to 'Mandys sexy phone' and then looking to see who 'Mandy' was would bring a further smile to the face. But that's it. Constant messages, unwanted flirts or insults, or stalking of a person to barrage them with messages (bluespam?) is not on so don't do it.
As William Gibson said "The Street finds its own use for Technology".
Article date: 07-Nov-2003