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Is Your Smartwatch Compromising Your Cyber Security?

Young woman checking time at smartwatch after jogging in the city

Smartwatches are so much more than a fashion statement. It’s never been easier to keep on top of your health. More recent models even claim to be able to monitor your mental health as well as physical indicators. But with a whole heap more than heart rates and step counts being collected, your watch could be just the latest piece of smart technology that is liable to security issues – if you do not protect it properly.

The benefits of smartwatches

A smartwatch is your fitness journal, personal trainer, and entertainment hub, all rolled into one tiny package on your wrist.

Many smartwatches are now capable of adapting the metrics that they track. This gives a detailed and specific analysis of all kinds of different exercises.

Having live updates and banks of information can help you track your progress. While features such as the Apple Watch’s ‘Rings’ motivate you to hit your goals each day and remain active.

Cellular options give you the functionality of your smartphone when out and about, meaning you don’t need to be weighed down by another device.

At the same time, smart apps can help you pay for things or find your way if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

The sensitive data your smartwatch collects

Health statistics: Your smartwatch is capable of estimating heart health and other conditions. If you have private health coverage, this information could influence your premiums and other costs.

Medicinal history: If you log medicine that you take for a condition, that information could end up in the hands of advertisers. It could also find its way to cyber criminals that may try to con you by requesting payment and using the names of medicines you are familiar with.

Banking information: If you utilise contactless payments on your watch, be wary of where and how you use the functionality.

GPS tracking: Tracking your exercise is a core function of smartwatches. But it may also alert would-be criminals when your house is empty or give clues about your daily routine.

How to keep your Smartwatch secure

Keeping your smartwatch secure is really all about keeping your smartphone secure. The data collected by your watch is almost entirely stored on your phone.

When it comes to any kind of online security, ‘Do I need a VPN?’ is a common question that crops up. A VPN gives you an extra layer of protection, especially when you’re connected to public networks. And this is more likely when you’re using a smartwatch.

But you should always remember core security principles. Using biometrics and limiting what data is stored on cloud services will keep data out of the wrong hands, to begin with.

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