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Smart watches (smart watches) and other electronic devices that are worn on the body (wearables), are becoming more and more popular.

The wearables include fitness rings or bands used to monitor heart rate or oxygen levels, glasses that can augment reality by artificial means, etc.

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“The combination of technology and fashion may be what attracts some people to these devices, but we all need to understand the risks involved in using such a device,” the experts point out.

“These devices present even greater security risks than smartphones, not only for consumers but also for businesses,” say experts at digital security firm ESET, as cybercriminals try to gain access to personal information on or through them of the devices.

The fact that these devices can track and report them health measurements of their owners, is just one of many concerns. Previously, this data was only useful to the users themselves or their doctors. Today, however, they may end up in the hands of third parties, who may sell the information or use it to create personalized ads. Furthermore, this data can be misused to track a person’s location, habits and other details with great precision.

At the same time, the potential connection of wearable devices to the company’s networks can create security risks businessesas these devices often share their connections with phones, creating a potential vehicle for cyber attack.

The same goes for attacks phishingvishing or smishing, which are spreading in the digital world and are also a threat to “smart” watches, since usually their functions are now closer to those of a phone.

Security gaps and how to “fill” them

Many security experts warn that smartwatches too often lack adequate user authentication methods, failing to prompt users to create strong PINs or passwords to unlock their devices. But even if they do, these measures are often weak, as the devices in question don’t offer the same set of processing power to provide complex authentication measures like phones. However, even a simple password is better than no password at all.

Another concern is data storage. And that’s because smartwatches now have their own hard drives. The data stored on them is often unencrypted or, even worse, uses cloud solutions to transport said data, which could be compromised relatively easily by a cyber attack.

This also applies to the Bluetooth connection between the watch and the phone, as simple data sniffers are able to intercept the transfer of data from the watch to the phone or vice versa.

What can you do

There are some ways to make the use of “wearable” devices safer. ESET experts recommend five steps:

1. Check regularly for software and security updates on your watch.

2. Check your app permissions.

3. Create a PIN or password.

4. Be careful what you store on your device.

5. Keep some basic cyber security measures in mind.

Taken together, these five steps offer a roadmap for improving security, but caution is still advised when using any wearable device. Android device users should prioritize using a trusted mobile cybersecurity app and remain vigilant when downloading apps from third parties.