Bluetooth blaggers: bollocks

Today’s technobollocks story comes via Engadget Mobile, which links to a report that criminals in Cambridge are using bluetooth to locate hidden laptops – and nick them.
According to Cambridge News.co.uk:

MOBILE phone technology is being used by thieves to seek out and steal laptops locked in cars in Cambridgeshire.

Up-to-date mobiles often have Bluetooth technology, which allows other compatible devices, including laptops, to link up and exchange information, and log on to the internet.

But thieves in Cambridge have cottoned on to an alternative use for the function, using it as a scanner which will let them know if another Bluetooth device is locked in a car boot.

Det Sgt Al Funge, from Cambridge’s crime investigation unit, said: “There have been a number of instances of this new technology being used to identify cars which have valuable electronics, including laptops, inside.

“The thieves are taking advantage of a relatively new technology, and people need to be aware that this is going on.

“We would urge people not to leave laptops, or anything of value, in their cars, and always de-activate these wireless connections when you’re not using a laptop – otherwise you’re making life easy for the thieves.”

Last month a spate of thefts from cars were put down to thieves using their phones to find laptops after three laptops were stolen from cars parked in neighbouring bays at the Holiday Inn, in Cambridge Road, Impington.

Police in Royston have mirrored the warning, after picking up on new crime trends in the area.

One teeny-weeny little problem with that scenario: when your laptop’s switched off, so is your bluetooth connection. I call shenanigans.

22 thoughts on “Bluetooth blaggers: bollocks

  1. Tony Kiernan says:

    And then some. How do they know? Have they caught someone? Is this some sneaky misinformation that they are then going to refute in court and get off?

  2. Gary says:

    I get the distinct impression that some techie type has talked about bluetooth, and that the cops have added two and two, only for the answer to fall down the stairs.

    Er…

  3. Stephen says:

    Far more likely that the thieves in the “spate” simply staked out the carpark and waited to see which wallies put a briefcase into the boot after parking.

  4. Gary says:

    Yeah, that’s a lot more likely.

    FWIW most insurers won’t pay out if your laptop’s nicked from anywhere but the boot, and even if it’s in there it mustn’t be visible from outside the car. Even then, you’ll often find you’re only covered for about five quid.

    Don’t leave computers in your car, kids!

  5. Gary says:

    > Speaking from experience?

    No, but it’s something I’ve looked into several times for articles and books. Most recently? Two weeks ago, for a piece on digital disasters. The per-item limit can be very small, not just in car insurance but in home insurance too. It pays to read the small print…

    > That would explain the banners. I hope they’re paying well.

    Heh. It’s an experiment that probably won’t last beyond the end of this month. If they’re annoying Firefox has very good ad-blocking (go for the adblock extension – it’s excellent) and of course, the atom feed is ad-free :)

  6. Gary says:

    No, although that’s why I was approached. Apparently Kasino with a K is a european spelling of Casino. Or something.

  7. paul says:

    I don’t see the ads unless I click through from the RSS feed to read the comments, but it’s good to see you’re making some money from your site.

    And on Bluetooth/latop stealing, I find the story fairly unbelievable, too. I can’t imagine many people leave their laptops on when they’re in the car boot, although some of the comments at Bruce Schneier’s site do point out that Bluetooth still acknowledges a signal when the laptop is asleep: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/08/bluetooth_as_a.html

  8. Gary says:

    > some of the comments at Bruce Schneier’s site

    Yeah, some interesting opinions there. I think we’re in the majority opinion that it’s police speculation.

    > Did you think “Kasinoband.com will do us. Money, money, money…”

    Well, if the ads generate some income – which is far from certain just now; this is a one-month trial to see what traffic if any is generated – then I’ll happily pocket it. For the last year or so we’ve watched downloads more than double, and the main reason for that is direct linking by sites who sell ad space on their own pages. So we wrote the songs, we paid to record them, we host the files, and someone else gets paid. Sod that.

  9. paul says:

    Paul, there’s an RSS feed for the comments too

    Cool. But they’re only partial text feeds. That makes me sad.

  10. Gary says:

    Heh. Scoble references ahoy :)

    I don’t know if there’s a way to make them full text, but if there is I’ll change it. I’ll have a look later on.

  11. paul says:

    Noy yet, as coComment relies on a bookmarklet on the browser toolbar, so it won’t work with pop-up comment boxes. They’re working on a solution, apparently. I think there might be a way to do it with Greasemonkey.

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