Wearables security tested with Microsoft Band 2, Basis Peak and Pebble Time...

Wearables security tested with Microsoft Band 2, Basis Peak and Pebble Time taking the lead.


For any person that takes great care of themselves, health and fitness are probably very important aspects in their lives. Leading a healthy lifestyle has also grown in importance and with smartwatches as well as fitness trackers assisting people in monitoring themselves; it is only to be expected that sales of these trackers have increased enormously since 2014. This is also expected to be a trend among many, with sales expected to reach, by 2019, a staggering 200 million sold.

The wearables gather data as the person goes about their day and can also be offloaded onto a smartphone using the companion app. However, with so much data being generated, it is only natural to wonder about the safety of this data being generated on these trackers. In an attempt to establish how secure data from these trackers actually are, AV-Test did exactly that by putting several fitness trackers through extensive security testing. Some of these wrist band fitness trackers tested were AppleWatch, Microsoft Band 2, Pebble Time, Basis Peak, and a few more.

Approximately 10 tests were conducted on these wearables by AV-Test, and all these tests were focused on three critical aspects, namely: the fitness tracker wrist band, the app that accompanies the tracker and lastly, online communication that is secure. Additional to this, Av-Test had two focal points from which tests were considered. Firstly, they focussed on security aspects related to the individual making use of the fitness tracker. Secondly, since health insurers have started making use of these to reward policy holders, security elements regarding tampering was also taken into account.

Ritesh Chopra, Norton’s country manager for India at Symantec, in an interview expressed several findings. He said that after numerous scanning devices were built by Symantec Researchers, they found that it is possible to track individuals and tamper with data. Findings also included that user credentials and data could be transmitted clearly by 20 percent of accompanying applications, and that over 50 percent of these applications did not have any privacy policies prepared. Chopra also stated that, even though Ransomware has already targeted Android tablets and smartphones, will not make it difficult for Ransomware to be running on Android wearables. This has, however, not been detected as of yet by Norton, sated Chopra.

With the plethora of tests conducted, together with the varieties tested; it is clear, of all fitness bands tested and analysis from test findings of each, that there were three devices that is worth considering from a security perspective. With these three devices- Basis Peak, Pebble Time and Microsoft Band 2- it was found that minimal opportunities for hacking and tampering were offered and only minor glitches could be picked up from test; making these the wearables that are most secure. From all the fitness wrist band trackers tested, the tests indicated that the Striiv Fusion, Xiaomi Mi Band and Runtastic Moment Elite were the most susceptible to tampering and hacking.