Connected device ownership is now ubiquitous in American culture; a recent study by the Pew Research Internet Project found that the number of Americans ages 16 and older who own tablet devices grew to to 35% in 2013. With a new wave of mobile, wearable, and smart devices rolling off the assembly lines, how does the next generation of devices rate in terms of security?
Malware Goes After Mobile
With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets growing every day, it should come as no surprise that malware developers are targeting these devices. While many analysts have hailed the iPhone 5′s new fingerprint recognition software as a revolutionary development, the reality is that it opens new opportunities for criminals. An ill-intended app may require a fingerprint scan for password protection, which could potentially be transmitted to the app developer.
While this may seem paranoid at a glance, 24/7 Wall St reports that Apple’s recent iOS 6 and 7 update patched a massive potential security concern that may have allowed hackers to intercept ostensibly encrypted iPhone communications. In the past, Apple has been criticized for its patchwork approach to personal data security. iMore even showcased a video released by a German-based hacker club just one day after the release of the iPhone 5, showing the device’s fingerprint-recognition software being fooled by a fake fingerprint. With users storing personal information inside apps and mobile wallets, it is increasingly more important to employ ID theft protection services such as Lifelock, to safeguard personal data, regardless of the security offered by the device manufacturer.
“Smart” Device Security
The “Internet of Things” and wearable technology is the next big trend in devices; A recent survey by Accenture found that 46% of consumers surveyed were interested in purchasing a smartwatch, and that 42% were interested in purchasing wearable digital glasses such as Google Glass. With so many devices currently on the marker running on different and unique operating systems, security issues concerning personal data monitored by wearable and smart devices are concerning. SC Magazine reports that security professionals have already demonstrated attacks on everything from smart televisions to baby monitors.
As smart devices and wearable technology penetrate everyday life, the security concern grows. Currently, many manufacturers of devices such as fitness trackers and wearable computing systems have little power to reach consumers and update their products should glaring security issues become apparent, placing the onus of security on the end-users themselves. As many of these devices utilize new technology and sensors, the potential for digital attacks are currently unknown. Security professionals are currently unsure about the potential for a virus capable of transmitting from connected device to connected device, However, they warn users to be aware that the sparkling world of new “smart” technology is still in its infancy, and that developers have yet to face a trial by fire concerning data theft or manipulation. Many security professionals urge users to take responsibility for their own security by insuring wearable and smart devices are always up to date and password protected as these devices proliferate in the near future.