While many of us take precautions to safeguard our PCs from cybercrime, we frequently overlook the risk posed to our smartphones and smartwatches. Even while smartwatches are more of a complement to our primary gadgets, nefarious actors can still use them to their advantage. What can you do to safeguard yourself, and how simple is it to hack a smartwatch?
Why Hack a Smartwatch?
Smartwatches are capable of storing a wide variety of information, some of it very private. A wristwatch may contain phone numbers, email addresses, login passwords, and payment information, which a hacker could use to perform a lot of things if they were to steal it.
Even though a wristwatch may not have as much data kept on it as a computer or smartphone would, this does not imply that bad actors would have nothing to pursue. Don't believe that just because your smartwatch is an accessory doesn't imply that attackers aren't interested in it. Even a single phone number or set of login credentials may offer a hacker a lot to work with.
Due to their constant connectivity to smartphones, smartwatches are prime targets for hackers. It is simple to understand why a smartwatch may be a target because a cybercriminal can intercept the information being transmitted between a smartphone and wearable.
How Are Smartwatches Hacked?
Smartwatches are essentially self-contained minicomputers. You can make calls, send texts, utilise Bluetooth and NFC, access the internet, and more with your wristwatch. So, it is clear that a variety of wireless communication vectors are supported by the majority of smartwatches.
Smartwatches are vulnerable to remote assaults as a result. Although describing every type of remote attack would take a very long time, there are a few major ones to which smartwatches are particularly vulnerable.
Phishing is a sort of online fraud that takes use of multiple lines of communication, such as email, SMS, and social network direct messages. Phishing attacks impersonate a legitimate person or organisation in order to disseminate malware or steal data. You run the danger of being taken advantage of if you open a phishing email on your wristwatch.
Imagine that you unintentionally install spyware on your smartwatch by opening a fraudulent email attachment. Once this virus is set up and running, it may be able to record your actions, steal your data, and even monitor your whereabouts. Even the extremely risky kind of malware known as ransomware has been reported to infect smartwatches, and phishing emails may be used to spread such deadly software.
The usage of Bluetooth by smartwatches also carries a danger. Many people use Bluetooth, a short-range wireless connection technology, to link with other gadgets like wireless speakers and headphones. Bluetooth may be used to link smartwatches to smartphones so you can make and receive calls, run applications, and access more functionality in general.
However, a path for exploitation opens up when Bluetooth is utilised to link your smartphone and wristwatch. A hacker may break into your network and then eavesdrop on the information being exchanged between the two devices.
Smartwatches may potentially be accessed by cybercriminals using the factory default passwords. During manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices are assigned a default password. A hacker who discovers your factory default password might use it to access the backend of your wristwatch. Although you may change this password, doing so is frequently rather challenging, and many people choose not to bother, leaving a handy attack vector available for hackers.
How to Keep Your Smartwatch Safe from Hackers
There are steps you can do to protect your wristwatch from hackers if you're worried that it poses a security risk, starting with the connections you make.
As was previously said, a smartwatch may communicate over a variety of channels, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Only keeping the connections you actually need active is a good idea because all of them might possibly be abused by attackers. For instance, if you don't need your NFC on a certain day, turn it off till you need.
Furthermore, avoid connecting your wristwatch to too many devices at once to avoid being vulnerable to unwanted assaults. For instance, if a hacker manages to access your smartphone, they could subsequently be able to access your wristwatch.
A public Wi-Fi network might make you an easy target for hackers if you connect your wristwatch to it. This fundamental principle applies to all gadgets, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. You run the danger of having your data stolen or having your online behaviour monitored if you connect to a public Wi-Fi network without utilising a security protocol, like a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Increasing security may also be significantly aided by updating the software on your wristwatch, especially the operating system. One of the numerous advantages of updating software is that security threats such as bugs and vulnerabilities are eliminated. Try to run software updates as regularly as you can, even if it might be a bit uncomfortable to wait for them to finish.
Additionally, you must safeguard your smartwatch physically from harm. A wristwatch may be used to immediately install malware if someone gains access to it, thus it's crucial to protect it with a strong password that is difficult to guess.
Last but not least, it's critical to choose reputable and reliable smartwatch manufacturers so that you can be sure your gadget will have security features. Cheaper smartphone manufacturers may forgo security precautions in order to provide their products at a lower price. Going with the well-known and established name is typically safer, however this isn't always the case.
Smartwatches' Wireless Capabilities Make Them a Valuable Target
Smartphones are unquestionably a feasible alternative for cybercriminals due to the various ways they may connect to other devices, access internet platforms, and communicate over short and long distances. Use the aforementioned advice to better safeguard your wristwatch and the information stored on it if you possess one and are worried about hackers.