search engine byfreefind
23 Apr

Should You Worry About Smartwatch Security?

Smartwatch privacy and security share similar risks with many other smart and IoT devices. Although popular brands have some protections in place, there are known vulnerabilities that may affect your smartwatch. With smartwatches being made for all ages, it's only natural to wonder about the dangers to your privacy and data. After all, smartwatch threats are not coming from all directions, but that doesn't mean that your smartwatch data is entirely safe either.The convenience of these products can sometimes make your data easier for hackers to access. However, despite these concerns, there are ways you can protect yourself.

Smartwatch Security Risks

Smartwatches are just one of many smart tech products that contribute to the Internet of Things (IoT). As this market continues to grow, these devices will become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Thanks to the IoT, plenty of activities have become easier thanks to devices being able to "talk" to each other. However, this data exchange is valuable and will inevitably be a target for hackers.

Lack of Vetting for IoT Consumer Safety

Most concerns around smartwatch privacy are based around the hazards of connected tech and the lack of cybersecurity standards surrounding the IoT. As more analog devices connect to the internet (and each other) — even light switches in your smart home – will require cybersecurity.Watches are among many smart tech product types entering a security "grey area," where no one is rating IoT products on the quality of their user protection and security. Without a central authority labeling IoT devices with clear safety rankings, most consumers have no clue how safe their watches are. So, there is no guarantee that your watch can guard against current cyberattack methods.

Is Your Smartwatch Data Exposed?

Smartwatch data can tell a fraudster a lot about you and your activities. All the info gathered, sent, and received by these devices becomes perfect for hijacking your identity and life. This, however, doesn't mean you should ditch your smartwatch. Instead, you should become more aware of how the watch manufacturer is handling your data.

Data gathering

Smartwatches gather tons of personalized information on you - passing it through connections like Bluetooth and the internet. Your GPS location, motion tracking, credit card transactions, and calendar in isolation may be relatively safe. But combined, these details can reveal your ATM PINs, passwords, daily routine, and more. In theory, if your manufacturer uses centralized, in-house services to store and process your data — a single company breach could open you to data theft.

Data collection

User data compiled on these devices are sent from your service provider to third-parties. This isn’t necessarily malicious, since this helps providers with data storage, processing, and analyzing to give you a better experience.The catch: this data may also be used by some third-parties to create advertising profiles on you. This data might even end up with many different companies, generating more points-of-attack to breach your privacy. It's worth remembering; not all smartwatch brands handle your data in the same way, so you'll need to read up on your manufacturers’ data collection policies.

Can Smartwatches Be Hacked?

Make no mistake: weaknesses in smartwatch security do exist. Some attack attempts have already been recorded for these devices. But while there haven't been many major breaches with smartwatches yet, white hat hackers (also known as 'good' hackers, who help businesses identify weaknesses in their products/programs/software) have helped reveal some security gaps.


Phishing can occur if you download a fraudulent app and enter any personal info into it. These apps are more common on unofficial app stores but are not absent from Google and Apple app stores. These fake apps work by asking you to log in to your Google account, and then a fake form grabs your credentials — making you unwillingly compromise your account.

Bluetooth Low Energy

Bluetooth Low Energy pairs your smartwatch to your phone, headphones, and other devices. But there are vulnerabilities in Bluetooth data encryption thanks to its complicated protocols. With weak encryption of the data, a criminal can force themselves into your connection using minimal effort (unfortunately, Bluetooth is an important connective feature on wireless-first devices like smartwatches).


Accelerometer data helps your smartwatch track movement for health and fitness features, such as steps taken.This accelerometer data can also be analyzed to reveal passwords and credit card numbers. Repetitive movement data trends can be used to figure out the computer keyboard typing motions that reproduce your credentials. Admittedly, this takes a lot of work, making this hacking method unlikely to be used, but possible (if the payoff is good enough, cybercriminals may hand-pick higher-value targets for this approach).

Factory Default Passwords

Factory default passwords are a backend technical tool used to access IoT devices. Because these go unchanged after you take these devices home, a hacker can easily find your password online or buy these default passwords on the dark web.To prevent this easy access, consumers first need to be aware it exists.Usually, manufacturers bury password change instructions within tech manuals that a user never reads. Sometimes you’ll have to contact the company directly to update your password properly. But some owners who have purchased cheaper smartwatches can’t even find a way to contact the original manufacturer.Inexpensive online products are commonly bought in bulk and rebranded by tons of secondary distributors. Many kids' watches are sold in this fashion, leaving them with a major security threat, which is why it's best that you only buy smartwatches from trusted, well-known brands such as Apple, Fitbit, or Garmin, etc.

Reconfiguration via Text Message

Some kids’ smartwatches have been discovered to be hackable simply by sending them a text. Using specifically written text messages, some watches can be reprogrammed to benefit the hacker. This method can repair the watch to the criminal’s phone, giving them more control and access to the device. They can then track the watch through GPS, and they can even call the user.Despite being discovered in low-end kids' models, many other cheaper smartwatches may have similar vulnerabilities. This is because cheaper manufacturers usually don't have much regard for safety over user-friendliness when putting an entry-level product together. Whereas reputable high-end brands like Apple are held with more accountability, but still often run into this convenience versus security debate.These security concerns have driven manufacturers to upgrade with more emphasis on encryption and guarding against app store malware. However, the lack of industry standards makes it impossible to guarantee that any product will be appropriately protected. 

* The email will not be published on the website.