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Wearable Tech of the Future – Friend or Foe?

Wearable technology has been all the rage in our evolving world with the Internet of Things. With more and more devices, contraptions and wacky gadgets being connected to the internet, it is getting increasingly common to hear even clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies into their designs. Through the development of wearable technology, pioneers have worked towards weaving the conveniences of electronics, software, sensors and connectivity into our daily lives in attempts to ease our every day routines.

 

Here’s a look at some very interesting wearable technology that are definitely not your average accessory:

1) Nadi Smart Fitness Pants which helps yogis correct your yoga forms

3055510-inline-i-1-these-vibrating-yoga-pants-will-correct-your-downward-dog

(Source: Mashable)

 

2) This Bitcoin engagement ring with 3D-printed QR code

bitcoinring

(Source: Mashable)

 

3) The temporary tattoo which converts your sweat to electricity

sweattat

(Source: Engadget)

 

4) Google’s glucose-monitoring contact lenses

This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose. After years of scalding soldering hair-thin wires to miniaturize electronics, Brian Otis, Google X project lead, has burned his fingertips so often that he can no longer feel the tiny chips he made from scratch in Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, a small price to pay for what he says is the smallest wireless glucose sensor that has ever been made. (AP Photo/Google)

(Source: TIME)

 

5) The D-Shirt by Cityzen Sciences that tracks your health & recharges during washing

d-shirt

(Source: Daily Mail)

 

6) These BlackSocks to pair & reunite lost socks to its other partner

blacksocks

(Source: BlackSocks)

 

While on top of all the crazy wearables companies are coming up with, the most common wearable tech that can be found among us are still our conventional fitness trackers and smart watches. Although once considered expensive to get a hold of, these days smartbands are getting more affordable and growing in their own array of functionalities and features.

However, while wearable technology is highly innovative, it also comes with certain risks. Be it any brand such as the Fitbit, Xiaomi, Nike, Pebble, Jawbone, Garmin, or countless others, all these smartbands have one thing in common; they could be leaking your personal information and activities without your consent.

pinterest

Source: Pinterest

The weakest link

As more users are donning their latest wearable tech track their fitness or answer calls, this new era of wearable technology inevitably opens up a front for hacking threats. The data that comes from wearable tech can in fact be even more personal and detailed than those which come from smartphones as they allow hackers to collect an in-depth understanding of their victims, from their location, heart-rate, to the number of hours they sleep each night. Hackers who gain access to this kind of personal information will acquire rich sources of the target victim’s home location, where they work, or cafes they frequent whenever the user connects their smartband. We might believe that fitness activity data may not be a huge concern, but every time a user switches on their smartband to record their daily activities, it leaves a door open for hackers to observe your habitual routines. Leaving your house at 6am every day for a jog? A burglar could be targeting your home to break-into.

cloud-cartoon

(Source: Cloud Tweaks)

Wearable technology could act as a gateway to other devices, such as smartphones, or data stored in the cloud. As many of these devices are connected to the user’s phone, that has their information such as emails or sensitive work information that makes it a prime target for hackers. More often than not, it is not the wearable device which presents itself as the weakest link in the chain, but the smartphone that is giving hackers a backdoor to your confidential data.

“You are more vulnerable if the attacker knows about you. The more data in the cloud linked with a personal profile, the more likely it is people can get the data and use it against you to craft an attack,” says Raimund Genes, chief technology officer of Trend Micro who warns that device makers are still not building enough security into their wearables.

 

What do the people think about wearable tech?

Apadmi, UK’s leading app developer, performed a study on wearable tech to assess the privacy risks potential customers perceive wearable tech poses.

apadmi

(Source: Apadmi)

While almost half of the respondents do perceive some form of privacy risks that wearable tech could threaten, approximately the same amount of respondents (40% of “Don’t know” responses!) are clueless regarding the impact wearable devices could have upon their privacy. Yes, while the explosive growth of wearable tech has made these devices mainstream, it seems many users still lack any firm grasp on the true potential security nightmares they could lead to.

Let’s not abandon our smartbands just yet

Naturally, sans any proper security, wearable tech can be just as susceptible to hacking targets as out smartphones and laptops do. Nevertheless, the risks of wearables vary by product, design and intended use. As it is likely that wearable tech designers and manufacturers have yet to come up with enough security which is up to par with their products, companies should consider data security factors as equal in importance to the functionality and design of their devices. As safety science company, UL, has spoken up about the importance of safeguarding against hackers to secure the future of wearables, their advice to tech manufacturers is to strive towards minimizing the digital risks involved through seeking the advice of third-parties, testing of product data security features and third-party audits of security procedures to open up new possibilities for consumers looking to fit these devices into their lives.

 

Sources

[1] CNBC

[2] Apadmi

[3] Telegraph

[4] Zingadget

[5] McAfee

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