the great dangers for the users of ‘smartwatches’

Madrid

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The ‘smartwatches‘ have come to stay. Over the years, more and more companies have launched into the manufacture of this type of device, which has functions aimed mainly at measuring physical activity and health. And the users accompany. Only in the second quarter of 2023 the market for this type of ‘wearables‘ grew 27% according to data from the analysis firm
Counterpoint
. To a large extent, thanks to the high demand for watches within the mid-range, with prices around 100 euros.

Like any type of smart device, ‘smartwatches’ also store information about the user inside them, so it is not unreasonable that they attract the attention of cybercriminals

. “Smartwatches have become very popular over the last three years. There are many applications that are linked to our mobile and that can be compromised by cybercriminals, “explains Josep Albors, head of research and awareness of the cybersecurity company ESET, in a conversation with ABC.

To enter such a device, cybercriminals can employ multiple gateways. Like Bluetooth, for which several vulnerabilities have been discovered in recent years, as well as in the software and operating systems of the ‘gadgets’ themselves or in the applications that users download inside them.

data theft

Some of the most feature-rich smartwatches provide synchronized access to the applications of your ‘smartphone’, such as email and messaging. This could give unauthorized users the opportunity to intercept sensitive personal data, such as health-related data. “If you share personal data with devices, you are always at risk. Cybercriminals focus on banking information, but when the time comes, the data related to health, which is what this type of device collects, can have value”, explains Albors, who emphasizes that cybercriminals could take advantage of the use of malicious code to access the information.

Be careful with the location

Another key type of data that most wearables record is related to location. With this information, cybercriminals can build an accurate profile of your movements throughout the day. This could allow them physically attacking the user or burglarizing their home. “With GPS we have seen before that in some cases it can be compromised without the need to use malicious code,” says the head of research and awareness.

enter your house

Some ‘wearables’ can be used to control smart home devices. It is even possible to configure them to unlock the front door of the house. This poses a huge security risk in case devices are lost or stolen and anti-theft features are not enabled. «In the United States the concept of smart home is more implemented than in Spain. Smart locks that can be controlled with other devices, such as mobile phones or smartwatches, are becoming very common there. If these systems are not configured properly, they can endanger even our physical security”, Albors points out.

How to protect yourself?

To avoid taking risks, cybersecurity experts recommend correctly configuring smartwatches and prevent any application downloaded on the mobile from being paired. It is also recommended to use verification systems that prevent unknown people from using the ‘gadget’ to access the information stored inside.

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