Criminals Know Where Your Devices Are. But How?

Published On December 21, 2019 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis, Now You Know

You do everything right. Everything is locked upped tight and out of sight. Your tablet, smartphone or laptop computer is safe from thieves. So how did they know to break into your car, locker, desk or hotel room to get it? This holiday season many people will find their property lost to smash and grab thieves who magically knew where your device was. But how?

Simple technology. Devices like Bluetooth scanners are very easy to come by. Just buy one on Amazon or simpler still just download a Bluetooth scanner app from the Google Play Store or the App Store. Then take a walk through a mall parking lot or the locker room at the gym and you will easily discover exactly where every device is.

Many laptops and other Bluetooth capable devices will send out a signal when the Bluetooth is turned on. This allows other Bluetooth devices to find them and potentially pair even when closed or idle. And the thieves know this.

Some people believe this is a urban myth. But if you think so just turn on your smartphone and then turn on your Bluetooth and set the phone to ask to join. And watch the devices pop up as you walk through the mall. Anywhere there is a wifi antenna or Bluetooth device you will see it pop uo on your phone screen. Some hackers are experts at hacking Bluetooth enabled devices. Its called Bluejacking.

Law enforcement officials have confirmed that at least some burglars do use Bluetooth scanners to guide certain break-ins. “In our corridor, yes, we have noticed that they are in use,” says Monica Rueda, a crime prevention specialist at the San Jose Police Department in California. “Right now we do know that thieves are utilizing them.” Rueda declined to name specific apps or features that are in use, citing ongoing investigations.

Bluetooth sensors find nearby signals. They list everything they find and provide details like what type of device they’ve detected, if that device is currently paired to another over Bluetooth and how close the devices are within a few meters. The apps are often marketed as tools for finding lost devices, like scanning for your misplaced iWatch in the hotel room. But they’re super simple to use for thieves. And they produce better results than your phone does on its own when looking for something to pair with in your Bluetooth settings.

Device owners are warned to turn their devices off or put them in airplane mode when leaving them in a vehicle or other semi-secure location. If you can avoid it do not leave valuable technology in your car, take it with you. Turn your Bluetooth off when not using it. Thieves know how to use the technology too!

Now You Know.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and EbonyCandle.com. Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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