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XFER has been serving Michigan since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Are Smartwatches Smart Enough?

Are Smartwatches Smart Enough?

Smartwatches might be great tools for keeping yourself connected to important information, but they bring with them a considerable amount of security threats. Vulnerabilities can make using smartwatches and other wearable technology dangerous. We’ll examine some of the major features of the modern smartwatch, how hackers can use them to cause trouble, and what you can do about it.

The Smartwatch
The smartwatch market as we know it today has existed for almost a decade, surprisingly enough, but the first smartwatch was developed in the late ‘90s. A smartwatch is seen today as more of a peripheral for a smartphone. They come in several different shapes, sizes, and styles, but they all tend to provide some kind of utility to the user. Here are some of the main benefits of using a smartwatch:

  • Convenience: You can’t beat the convenience of checking your watch and getting access to all kinds of information, like notifications, calendar events, and so much more. Modern smartwatches also give users the ability to search for information, and the processing power of these devices gives smartwatch users the ability to perform several actions that a smartphone can accomplish.
  • Functionality: The latest smartwatches have several features that give users lots of functionality. They can integrate with applications and take advantage of other practical functions, making them as useful as you want them to be. In this way, smartwatch manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with wearable technologies.
  • Discretion: Discretion is probably the most important part of using a smartwatch, as it’s much easier and more discreet to use it than pulling out a smartphone. Most smartphones have the capability to push notifications to your smartwatch, including those from social networks, messages, weather, and so on. More than anything else, it at least keeps you from being rude and checking your smartphone in the middle of a conversation.

Security Issues
The primary issue that comes from wearable technology is that it connects to your mobile device through a Bluetooth connection. Since they also connection to Wi-Fi networks, they are being exposed to two potential ways of being breached. Businesses that prioritize security (read: all businesses should prioritize security) need to be particularly wary of wearables, especially in regard to a Bring Your Own Device policy.

The modern hacker will use any opportunity they can find to hack into a device, and since wearables are particularly vulnerable to this due to the modes of connection they contain, they provide additional access points that create issues for businesses. If a hacker can gain access through an application at the wearable level, it could potentially compromise even the connected device and any network it’s attached to.

Industry experts might agree that the lack of wearable security isn’t a major concern overall, but it’s still something that you should be addressing with your business’ mobile device policy. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • If you are accidentally collecting electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), you could be putting your organization at risk of breaching healthcare standards set by HIPAA. You should limit your employee’s fitness and wellness data collection on company-owned wearables and devices whenever possible.
  • Be wary of what can happen if you fail to educate your employees about the importance of protecting wearables. Be sure to remind them that they aren’t just putting business data at risk, but also their own individual data. It’s imperative that your employees understand how to best protect these devices.
  • Focus on the management of these devices, as there are no proper anti-malware solutions for IoT devices.

For assistance with planning out a wearable strategy for use with your Bring Your Own Device policy, be sure to reach out to us at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337.

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