Feeds

Your fitness tracker is a SNITCH says Symantec

Broadcast your bonks to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.