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Bluejacking is the sending of unsolicited messages over Bluetooth to Bluetooth-enabled devices such as mobile phones, PDAs or laptop computers, sending a vCard which typically contains a message in the name field (i.e., for bluedating or bluechat) to another bluetooth enabled device via the OBEX protocol.
Bluetooth has a very limited range, usually around 10 metres (32.8 ft) on mobile phones, but laptops can reach up to 100 metres (328 ft) with powerful (Class 1) transmitters.
Bluejacking was reportedly first carried out by a Malaysian IT consultant who used his phone to advertise Sony Ericsson. He also invented the name, which purports to be an amalgam of Bluetooth and ajack, his username on Esato, a Sony Ericsson fan online forum. Jacking is, however, an extremely common shortening of hijack, the act of taking over something.
Bluejacking is usually harmless, but because bluejacked people generally don't know what has happened, they may think that their phone is malfunctioning. Usually, a bluejacker will only send a text message, but with modern phones it's possible to send images or sounds as well. Bluejacking has been used in guerrilla marketing campaigns to promote advergames.
With the increase in the availability of Bluetooth enabled devices, it is often reported that devices have become vulnerable to virus attacks and even complete take over of devices through a trojan horse program although most of these reports are easily debunked.
Bluejacking is also confused with Bluesnarfing which is the way in which mobile phones are illegally hacked via Bluetooth.
Bluejacking tools and software
Many tools have been developed for bluejacking. Most of the development happened in the 2000 to 2004, where multiple new bluetooth vulnerabilities were discovered. Most of these tools are developed by individual developers and have very specific functions. While there are many tools to assist someone in bluetoothing, only a few hidden tools are available for the more sinister bluesnarfing or bluebugging. These are usually internal trade secrets which the experts guard earnestly.
One example is bluesniff, which seeks out hidden bluetooth devices. One of the most commonly used bluetooth software is bloover, which is in version 2 now. It allows users to seek then send unsolicited messages to unwary bluetooth devices.