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Bluetooth sniping

Mark it in the cool-but-likely-to-get-you-arrested category...

LAS VEGAS--Mark it in the cool-but-likely-to-get-you-arrested category.

Three researchers from wireless research and development group Flexilis arrived at the DEFCON hacking conference with a Bluetooth snooping device dressed up as a sniper rifle--not exactly the best thing for surreptitious surveillance.

The rifle, replete with scope and folding stock, can snoop on Bluetooth phones up to half a mile away, far more than the 100 feet the average Bluetooth device is designed to do. Connected to a laptop that is carried in a backpack, the Bluetooth rifle can grab the network hardware, or MAC, address of the phone, detect open services and track people via their phone.

The prototype took two days to create, said John Hering, director of research and development for the company. While he admitted that the rifle was conspicuous, he stressed that it didn't have to be. A briefcase could carry the same hardware and a vest could also be decked out with omnidirectional antennas and a computer.

Until phones become more secure, Bluetooth users watch out.