Can a Smart Watch Hack Your Network?02/25/2016
Wearable technology is here and it can help make workers more productive. Items such as smart watches, headgear and smart glasses, fitness trackers, wearable clothing and even some medical devices all have, for the lack of a better term, mini computers inside them. Are they secure? That's an important question, especially if you allow an employee to use them while at work.
Imagine if you spent your time and hard earned money to make certain that your customers could pay you with a credit card and remain secure. Then one of your unknowing employees wears a hacked smart watch to work and every time he or she rings up a sale the smart watch intercepts, records and transfers the credit card info to a hacker. You didn't do anything wrong, but your business will pay the price.
Could this really happen? Studies have shown that many of these wearable devices pass information unencrypted to the wearer’s smart phone and from there the data is transmitted to a cloud storage account. If one of these devices were hacked it would be possible for the hacker to grab any information the wearable device is exposed to.
So called smart clothing that not only monitors vital statistics while exercising but also sends resting data about heart rate, body temperature and more could potentially be exploited by nefarious users. If modifications to wearable clothing were made so they could scan outside sources they could easily be used to capture employee log-ins, credit card data at time of purchase, and even log keystrokes from a wireless keyboard. A smart sports bra is being released by a company in Canada this spring which would allow wearable technology to be easily hidden under other clothing as well.
The following example may seem far fetched but with today's technology it is very possible. Suppose you are checking out at a retail outlet and a man or woman behind you with hacked wearable technology is able to capture your credit card information as you swipe your card. The information is immediately uploaded to cloud storage, so even if the person is suspected of stealing information there is no longer any way to prove that they captured the data.
These mini computers can be very powerful and often can help people become more productive but it is important for us to realize the potential risks associated with the use of items that may transmit data in a less than secure manner. The use of any device that passes data unencrypted near your network could potentially expose your network to hackers.
How can we protect our businesses from the potential abuse of these items? A quick Internet search may reveal if a device is secure or if it uses encryption to pass data from one place to another. Then an informed determination can be made as to whether or not the device can be used in conjunction with your business. Regardless of whether or not the item is used directly for business purposes it is important that we have some control over each device that is used around the data we need to protect