Smartwatch and Security in Our Daily Lives

smartwatch security
  • Real-time altitude and heart rate measurements
  • Detect respiratory diseases by measuring sleep status
  • Emergency call 1 minute after a fall if no movement detected
  • Measure oxygen concentration via LED light reflected on the skin 
Can You Guess Which Smart Device Functions the Above? 

As the interest in healthcare has recently increased due to the pandemic, the market size of the smartwatch that supports various health conditions and exercise check features is expanding. The Apple Watch 6, which was released back in September, received a lot of attention from the rumors that an individual can predict whether another individual is infected with respiratory diseases (like the coronavirus) via the oxygen saturation measurement feature. Also last year, Google signed off a big deal to acquire Fitbit, a wearable device company, for about USD 2.1 billion dollars. Although uncertainty remains in the smartwatch market over Google’s move, the opinion that it has invested in the value of data that can be obtained through wearable devices has become dominant. 


SmartWatch is an Exercise Coach and a Doctor Who Checks Your Health?

In fact, the scope and role of smartwatches are diverse. It is used for various purposes such as measuring exercise records and checking health status, starting with life-type smartwatches that utilize functions such as sending and receiving emails, messenger, and calls. Of course, you can also find luxury smartwatches that are indispensable in the luxury industry. Agents wore Tag Heuer’s smartwatches in the Kingsman 2 movie, and Louis Vuitton and Montblanc are leading the luxury smartwatches industry. 

The important thing is that although it is a smartwatch that has different purposes for each user, device, and brand, it records and stores a lot of data. As a ‘smart’ watch, you shouldn’t forget that it is always paired with another smart device, and various apps are launched to create and store different data. It includes data such as location, texts, contact information, account information, and health information. As such, our smartwatches are becoming personalized doctors and exercise coaches. 


What is the Main Problem of Personal Information & Data Breach of Smart Watches? 

Smartwatches that probably store more data than smartphones require more attention in protecting data. Compared to other smart devices, there are definitely insufficient discussions on the privacy issues of smartwatches. 


1) The Vulnerability of Children’s Smartwatches

Cases of security vulnerabilities in smartwatches have been discovered several times. For example, a security vulnerability was discovered last year in M2, a smartwatch from Xiao Mi. This smartwatch has the ability to track your child’s location using the app and receive alarms if the child leaves the designated area. However, it allowed hackers to gain unauthorized access to user accounts and location information, which could have led to severe damages if exploited. 



2) SmartWatch and the Military 

There are voices of concern that the personal work out information in smartwatches may leak confidential information related to national security, such as government agencies and military bases. You can check where you live by accessing the exercise information recording function of an app run by a Finnish healthcare device manufacturer. This could expose the location of state secret agencies or facilities. This can be a problem directly related to national security and can lead to more than just the risk of personal data breaches. 

As controversy of the privacy of smartwatch data continues, Germany even banned the usage of smartwatches for children. Most smartwatches are equipped with GPS, so if a child’s location is leaked, it can end up being exploited for a crime. In fact, there are a few low-end smartwatches on the market, but there are no adequate security measures for internet access, recording, and location tracking features installed. 



Should We Refrain from Using Smart Watches? 

There’s no doubt that a smartwatch is a device that helps us in a more convenient and effective way. However, smartwatches are don’t provide guaranteed ‘security’ will eventually end up creating new attack routines for hackers. 


Smart Watches DO NOT Require New Security Technologies! 

Since smartwatches are a type of IoT device, it’s not very different from the existing strategies applied for IoT security. Penta Security defines the core of IoT security as <Secure First, Then Connect> and it takes it as a principle to ensure the integrity of data flowing to and from the device in real-time. To achieve this, secure authentication and an encrypted communication environment between devices must be established during the data transmission process. Through this, the goal is the create a reliable server, data transmission process, and smartwatch environment. It’s critical for users to download the latest updates for their smart devices. In particular, if the smartwatch is attacked, the data of the connected device may be leaked, so both devices need to constantly be updated and secured. 

Get to know more about Penta Security’s IoT security options here today. 

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