(CBS) — Smartwatches are the hot thing, replacing the old school wristwatch.They can do so much, but are they safe from hackers?
CBS 2’s Lionel Moise takes a closer look in this Original Report.
From tracking your health to checking emails, smartwatches can make life much more convenient.
“I love it,” said Mansoor Anjarwala. “It’s the first thing I do just because I fell it’s now part of my life.”
Anjarwala mostly uses his for fitness. Others use it for texts, photos and paying for purchases but the big question is: can your smartwatch be outsmarted by a hacker?
“We were able to get personal information like contacts, calendar information, emails,” said Frank Breitinger.
Breitinger and his forensics team at the University of New Haven were able to hack data on a smartwatch. Their research was focused on catching criminals, but also revealed how you could become the next target.
“Some of the smartwatches allow you to open doors,” said Breitinger. “In the future, they might be used to pay or start cars, so you should be aware that the data that you store in there, it might be not only you who is able to read that.”
And the motion sensor that tracks your steps might also be a security concern. Researchers at the University of Illinois demonstrated how they could determine what you’re typing simply by tracking a sensor and researchers at the University of Copenhagen showed they could detect five numbers of an eight number pin punched on a keypad.
Another vulnerability is how the watches send and receive data over Bluetooth, the cloud and WiFi, especially public WiFi.
“Everyone who is in that WiFi can access your data, might be able to read your data if traffic is not encrypted,” said Breitinger.
Paul Petefish with Evolve Security in Chicago cautions Bluetooth, especially when the watch and phone are pairing, is not as hack-proof as people think.
“You could do something called Bluetooth hijacking, or bluesnarfing is what it’s called, and that potentially could allow you to access the watch,” Petefish said.
This was very surprising to some smartwatch users.
“The thinking is if this is linked to this, they are both secure but if it’s not, it’s an issue,” said Walid Abu-Ghazaleh. “I would rather go back to a normal watch a secure phone.”
“We always say it’s either convenience or security, so it’s hard to get both,” said Breitinger.
Apple does have a more secure Bluetooth pairing than most other watches – and a stronger log-in, but you have to opt-in. LG says it is considering the issues we’ve brought up tonight. Samsung has not commented. Security experts suggest wearers take advantage of passwords and PINs to protect sensitive data. Also determine if your watch connects via WiFi and make sure the connection is secure.