Smartwatches prone to new risks

Washington, July 23

The surging market for smartwatches opens up new ground for hackers, according to researchers who found vulnerabilities in all devices they tested.

A study by Hewlett-Packard’s HP Fortify found ‘that 100 per cent of the tested smartwatches contain significant vulnerabilities, including insufficient authentication, lack of encryption and privacy concerns’, the company said in releasing the findings on Wednesday.

The researchers found ‘that smartwatches with network and communication functionality represent a new and open frontier for cyberattack’, report said.

The research highlights the cyber risks from the growing number of connected devices — such as refrigerators, cars, coffee makers and lightbulbs — sometimes referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’.

Smartwatches could pose special risks because they may store sensitive information such as health data, and could connect to cars and homes to unlock them, HP said.

The HP study looked at 10 smartwatches, along with their Android and Apple iOS cloud and mobile application components.

The biggest problems included weak authentication, making it easy for an attacker to gain access, and a lack of encryption.

All the smartwatches collected some form of personal information.