Cybersecurity researchers: Fitness trackers vulnerable to tracking, privacy breaches – but not Apple Watch

“Some of the top-selling brands of fitness trackers that monitor wearers’ heart rates, sleeping patterns and movement are putting user data and privacy at risk, according to a new report,” Dave Seglins and Chelsea Gomez report for CBC News. “Cybersecurity researchers at the University of Toronto examined eight popular wrist-worn trackers. They tested how they communicate with mobile apps and even upload and store a user’s workout information on manufacturers’ computer servers.”

“The researchers conclude that several models expose users to potential internet snoops and hackers even when devices aren’t being used for exercise and mobile apps are turned off,” Seglins and Gomez report. “Andrew Hilts, who is executive director of Open Effect and a research fellow at Citizen Lab at the U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, said, ‘We found cases where your data is being sent and you might not be aware, and there’s no apparent reason why it’s being sent.'”

Apple Watch Sport with Apple's Activity and Workout apps
Apple Watch Sport with Apple’s Activity and Workout apps
“The study examined popular models made by Garmin, Fitbit, Jawbone, Mio, Withings, Xiaomi, Basis and Apple,” Seglins and Gomez report. “Each of the devices uses Bluetooth technology that emits a signal and a unique ID that can be detected even when the tracker is not paired with a mobile phone. This ‘can leave their wearers exposed to long -term tracking of their location,’ concludes the Open Effect / Citizen Lab research report released Tuesday… The Apple Watch received high marks in the study for data security because it is the only model that randomizes a user’s Bluetooth ID, making it impossible to track over the long term.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: At Apple, your privacy is of utmost concern.

Apple takes a swing at privacy-tampling, personal data-guzzling rivals like Google – September 29, 2015
Apple reinvents the privacy policy – September 29, 2015
Apple selling targeted ads, but their new privacy policies shows they think different about tracking – September 29, 2015
Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy – September 12, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
Edward Snowden supports Apple’s stance on customer privacy – June 17, 2015
Mossberg: Apple’s latest product is privacy – June 12, 2015
Apple looks to be building an alternative to the Google-branded, hand-over-your-privacy ‘Internet Experience’ – June 11, 2015
Understanding Apple and privacy – June 8, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Darren” and “Darrels” for the heads up.]

1 Comment

  1. If a device qualifies as being part of the Internet of Things (IoT), be highly sceptical of its security. So far, IoT security gets a solid F.

    There are plans for IoT standards conferences. Let’s hope they’re fruitful. Meanwhile, for Apple it’s ‘Been There, Done That, Catch Up!’

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