Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers, confirms Illinois researchers


Having a smart watch these days is fashion and everyone desires to have one. But after reading this article, you might think twice before buying one. According to the latest study by Illinois researchers, Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers, if you are using a laptop or PC keyboard while wearing it.

Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers, say researchers using a homegrown app called MoLe on a Samsung Gear Live smartwatch. The motion sensors on the watch are responsible for the data leaks. It could also collect the data from the search queries, emails and confidential documents.

Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers

Romit Roy Choudhury, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois:

“Sensor data from wearable devices will clearly be a double-edged sword. While the device’s contact to the human body will offer invaluable insights into human health and context, it will also make way for deeper violation into human privacy. The core challenge is in characterising what can or cannot be inferred from sensor data and the MoLe project is one example along this direction.”

Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers; as the wearer types on a laptop or PC, the micro-motion of keystrokes can be tracked by app using gyroscope and accelerometer. After collecting the data the researchers ran it through a “Keystroke Detection” module. The module can then analyze the timing of each keystroke along with the net 2D displacement of the watch. While the researchers developed MoLe, it is quite possible that some hackers could develop a similar app and deploy it to app stores.

Smartwatch can leak your data to hackers, but it can be solved?

According to Mr. Wang, a PhD student at Illinois, this problem could be solved by lowering the sample rate of the sensors in the smartwatch. For instance, normally the sample rate is about 200 Hertz, meaning the system will log 200 gyroscope and accelerometer readings per second. But, if the sample rate is lowered to below 20, it would become extremely difficult to track the users’ wrist movements.