security risks of smartwatches

Smartwatches are wearable computers that you can take with you wherever you go. Being a computer, your smartwatch will always pose a security risk in certain situations. If you need your smartwatch for daily activities, you should know how to stay safe. Smartwatches are connected through the Internet with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular network to grab relevant information. It is a standard feature for many smartwatches to use GPS to track current locations and provide navigational routes. This can raise privacy and security concerns because someone or any platform can always track your position. Here are security concerns that you should be aware of if you wear a smartwatch every day:

Data collection

Your smartwatch has a collection of sensors that monitors your personal information in real-time. Other than your online activities and location, personal data like sleep patterns, heart rates, body temperature, blood oxygen levels, and exercise activities can be collected by remote servers through apps. Service providers could be trustworthy, but any data can be stolen and used by unauthorized individuals. Depending on your personal data, you could be targeted for specific marketing messages. If you want to minimize data collection by external platforms, it is best to uninstall any unneeded apps. When it comes to apps, you should keep them to the barest minimum, depending on your personal requirements and preferred functionality. Always stick to the built-in apps of your smartwatch manufacturer and install third-party apps only when necessary.

Data hijacking

Smartwatches transfer and obtain data with your smartphones or office/home network through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Despite the use of the latest standards and recent improvements in security, some security risks remain. Bluetooth connections could be vulnerable to blue-snarfing, blue bugging, or bluejacking. This could be true if your device still uses an earlier Bluetooth version with outdated security configurations. With a special tool or software, it is possible for hackers to grab your information without you realizing it. If your smartwatch has built-in 4G LTE connectivity, data transfer will be much safer. However, many users prefer to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to save power and data. If possible, avoid using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, if the network still uses an outdated standard or security configuration.

Location tracking

As mentioned above, it is a standard feature for many smartwatches to include location tracking with GPS. When exercising, GPS can help to measure distance and how many calories you burn, depending on your speed and running distance. When traveling, the smartwatch can help to guide you through a route map, so you won’t get lost. When not needed, disable location services and GPS connectivity. Other than minimizing security risk, it will also improve battery life.

You should stay away from public Wi-Fi networks, so you can be protected against possible hacking. Always check the latest OS updates and security patches for your smartwatch to make it harder for hackers to exploit any security hole. Ask your office’s system administrator, whether he has implemented the latest security configurations. Find out how to improve the security of your wireless network in your home to prevent any digital snooping. If you wear a fitness tracker, make sure that it stores and processes data locally.

Also Read: Benefits of a Smartwatch for Outdoor Enthusiasts