Feeds

Your fitness tracker is a SNITCH says Symantec

Broadcast your bonks to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

If you're the kind of person whose gadgets auto-tweet your exercise, sex or sleep habits – all vanguard applications of the odiously-named “quantified self” movement – you can be tracked, identified and hacked, according to Symantec.

In this post, the security outfit explains that the age-old desire for gadget convenience has, once again, taken security out behind the shed for a quiet bullet.

With a handful of suitably-equipped Raspberry Pi devices, the company says, it was able to demonstrate that devices are trackable, some of them use apps that pass sensitive data in clear text, data leakage is common, and some offerings had poor security at the server-side.

Both wearables and apps that use smartphone sensors were examined in the test.

The tracker-tracker, which Symantec dubs “Blueberry Pi”, is nothing more than an RPi with Bluetooth 4.0, a battery pack, a 4GB SD card, open source software and a little custom scripting, put together for $USD75. These were tested in public areas in Ireland and Switzerland, including at a public footrace.

The wearable devices identify themselves by transmitting their MAC address – so once a device is associated with an individual, tracking is trivial, even without seeking to force a remote connection to the device. The researchers note that some such devices “may allow for remote querying” but they didn't test this.

Apps associated with the devices were even worse: 20 per cent of them don't bother encrypting user credentials they pass up to their cloud services. Those cloud services are badly implemented as well, from a privacy point of view, with many apps reporting not just to the maker, but also chatting to marketing outfits' analytics servers.

This, Symantec says, offers plenty of scope for data leakage: “in one app that tracks sexual activity, the app makes specific requests to an analytics service URL at the start and end of each session. In its communication, the app passes a unique ID for the app instance and the app name itself as well as messages indicating start and stop of the tracked activity.”

The company also pings developers for a lack of privacy policies (52 per cent of the relevant apps had none at all), and poor segregation of user data at the server side: “In one example it was possible to browse personal data belonging to other users of the site. In another instance, it was possible for an attacker to upload SQL statements, such as commands to create tables in the database, to the server for execution.”

The full paper is here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.