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How hackers might follow your every move with simple tech

(AP file photo)
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Hackers may need only your bluetooth to follow your every move.

“Every device with bluetooth, it’s encrypted,” Joe Fitzpatrick, instructor and researcher at, told Seattle’s Morning News.

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Simple, cheap hardware can find a bluetooth device by its identification number, Fitzpatrick explained. A hacker can then “aggregate that data and know headset #12345 is always at this restaurant at 5 p.m. Wednesdays.”

When you bring this method to scale, you can potentially track a single bluetooth device.

“Let’s say I have 100 devices and I put one at every intersection in a 10×10 block area,” Fitzpatrick said. “I can track who walks from where to where. If you live in this area I can tell someone left his apartment at 8 a.m. every day and went to this office building, and left that office building and went to this bar.”

It gets more complex than just the bluetooth technology. Fitzpatrick points to devices, each with its own identification number, that monitor each tire on a car for air pressure, etc. They send a signal to a computer in the vehicle to report the information. A hacker can then track the tires in a similar way to bluetooth devices.

This is the sort of information swapped at the hacker conference in Seattle last month. Fitzpatrick spoke on bluetooth and how the tracking method has likely already been used.

“When someone talks about what they can do at a hacker conference, publicly, it’s pretty much safe to assume somebody has been doing something similar, privately, for a longer period of time and doesn’t have permission to speak about it,” he said.

You can listen to Fitzpatrick’s interview with KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross here.

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