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How to detect and investigate Bluetooth LE devices

Investigating Bluetooth LE devices has never been so easy.

Suppose you want to investigate Bluetooth LE devices because you have IOT devices or just want to discover nearby Bluetooth Low Energy (AKA BLE) devices. In this article, you will learn how to identify them and get additional insights from those devices using Acrylic Bluetooth LE Scanner.

We are usually unaware of wireless devices until we use them, whether through a mobile app or by interacting with another device. It is important to find out if those devices offer remote connection through bluetooth, even without their official application.

Why should we investigate Bluetooth LE devices?

We live in a deeply interconnected world, where increasingly more devices adopt wireless connectivity, even without us knowing. This can have a remarkable impact on our privacy and even safety.

That is why we need to be aware of all wireless devices that are nearby or that we use on our daily basis. Those can be found within domestic environments, such as smart toys, locks or appliances. We carry others everywhere, such as smart watches, cloth tags, electric cars, bicycles and those present in the workplace.

Bluetooth LE is widely used by IOT devices due to its low consumption and compatibility with many other devices. It is a standard used and supported by the industry.

New appliances often come with their mobile application to run them. It can be from a fan, purifier or even a coffee maker where you can program the type and the time you want to have your coffee. You can even turn it on before getting out of bed.

Very often these devices hold microphones to receive voice commands. As useful as it may seem, it can have deep privacy and safety implications if the user is unaware of this feature, or that it is wirelessly accessible.

It is important to know what we are buying and what connectivity features it offers, so we can avoid bad moments in the future by properly configuring it.

Using Bluetooth LE scanner tools will help you determine which nearby devices use Bluetooth in their communications.

How can we investigate them?

You can gather valuable information from nearby devices you do not know about. It is possible to reveal the manufacturer and insights about provided services, so you can get an idea of what device type could be.

Additionally, it is interesting to get measures of each device signal strength so that we can search where it is coming from. Simply by moving towards the highest signal strength we will be able to find the device location.

With proximity bluetooth devices (Proximity Beacons) also called iBeacons we can know how far away they are from us, they are often used as key rings to find keys or any other object that is susceptible to get lost, even curious applications such as anti-theft in case your bag moves away from you, the mobile phone application will alert you.

We can also measure how good or bad a device coverage is to make the right decision about its placement. Another important factor is to visualize metrics about how the signal quality changes throughout time. This is particularly useful in dynamic environments.

We can save captures of devices that were detected at a particular moment or during a specific time gap to check whether new devices show up or disappear. It is possible to associate names to inventoried devices so that the application will show that user-friendly name rather than a specific Mac Address. For instance, if we have a surveillance camera with Mac Address 01:02:03:04:05:06, we could assign “Camera Entrance” name for easy identification.

Investigate Bluetooth LE devices is now easier than ever.

The software allows generating reports which can be stored to keep a historical log and deliverables.

Localizing devices using GPS (Wardriving)

It is possible to use GPS in outdoors environments to keep track of our movements while collecting all devices’ information. This is called wardriving, and it is possible to generate maps that can be visualized with GIS tools such as Google Earth. With these tools, you can locate devices on a satellite map.

To summarize, it is very important to be aware of all IOT devices around us. Fortunately, this is not a complex task with the right tools, it does not require advanced technical knowledge, and it will improve our privacy and safety.

For all this and more you can try to download blueetooth LE scanner