Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/11/bluetooth_phone_hacking_in_dubai/

Porn, Dubai and Bluetooth phone hacking...

A scam that is long in the tooth

By Guy Kewney

Posted in Mobile, 11th April 2005 14:05 GMT

The latest Bluetooth scare is that if you go to the United Arab Emirates, someone might hack your phone, implant porn on it, and you'd end up in jail.

Here's the origin of this story: an article by reporter Lana Mahdi, saying: "People who use mobile phones, particularly with bluetooth technology, to send pornographic images or indecent SMS messages will henceforth have to face imprisonment, a police source has warned."

The warning is pretty clear: sending immodest messages, whether over the cellphone SMS network, or between users over Bluetooth, is illegal. In other words, don't send people rude messages.

Almost certainly, this has arisen because of Bluejaq pranks, where people attempt to set up a conversation, and give their phone a rude name. The trick is amusing, because usually the recipient has no idea who sent the suggestive message. Pick the wrong recipient, however, and they could get excited... technically, you could be discovered.

But the idea that your Bluetooth phone might have a porn message secretly embedded in it, as a way to getting you banged up in prison, seems to be the most long-winded extrapolation of a set of ignorant assumptions into an implausible set of possible conclusions.

The article quotes "technology experts" saying that Bluetooth phones are vulnerable to hacking. It then goes on to refer to what is clearly Bluesnarfing - a trick requiring an obsolete Nokia phone, and a special-purpose hacker PC which is of no value whatever to anybody except the security expert who gained credibility by inventing it.

The story seems to have been picked up by blue2girl at www.blueserker.com and from there, inflated into "Use Bluetooth to get peeps busted in the UAE".

There is a sensible thing to worry about if you use a phone in the UAE or any other fundamentalist theocracy: if your phone has a camera, you may (perhaps inadvertently) take pictures of things you should not. Usually, that's someone else's wife or daughter when not fully covered (all but the eyes).

If we wanted to get you banged up in prison, we'd borrow your phone while you were in the loo: point it at a nude site like www.domai.com and then return it secretly to where you left it, and then summon the theo-fuzz.

Think about it: if someone transmitted a rude pic to your phone, they'd have to have the same rude pic on theirs...

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