The nature of personal tech is that devices such as smartphones, tablets and – yes – smartwatches are vulnerable to theft or hacking. If someone manages to access your smartwatch, they could likely find out all of your personal data, and in turn empty your bank account.
So it is important that you secure your smartwatch. But does that mean you need antivirus? Just how do you secure a wearable device? Let’s take a look.
In most cases a smartwatch is mostly an extension of your phone. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This means hackers have an extra avenue open to them to hack the connection, and an
HP survey found that smartwatches sold in 2015 have serious security flaws.
However, if you’re
buying a smartwatch right now you should reasonably expect that any data sent between it and your phone will be encrypted. That’s certainly true of the Apple Watch.
Remember that virtually all malware these days exists to make money out of the victim, and thieves always go for the low-hanging fruit. If your watch is harder to hack than your laptop, the laptop will get it. It is the same data, after all.
But that is not to say that you should be complacent. If you can install software on a device, you can install malware. So although it is unlikely anyone can (or will) hack their way on to your wrist with a drive-by attack, you can certainly be tricked into installing a dodgy app or opening up a dodgy link. In reality, however, this isn’t the real security threat posed against you and your smartwatch.
Can a smartwatch get a virus?
Technically, yes. If you can install software on a smartwatch, you can install a virus. But despite what antivirus makers will tell you, there isn’t really a direct malware threat aimed at your watch.
Even now, smartwatches are a relatively small market compared to the billions of Windows users out there. Yes, where there is data and transaction there is a potential threat, but there are many more easy ways of stealing your data than installing malware on your smartwatch.
For example, if you can be persuaded to give up your details via a phishing attack the criminals don’t need to hack your Android watch. So as on the streets, in your virtual life: behave sensibly and think before you share, click or download.
This is the only area in which I would argue security software can be helpful for your smartwatch. With the best security packages you can protect your most sensitive data by placing it under a digital lock and key, and by changing a password negate most of the damage wrought by some kind of hack attack.
Some antivirus companies recommend you don’t store any sensitive data on your smartwatch and you don’t make any payments on it. However, that advice doesn’t apply to the Apple Watch as communication between itself and your iPhone is encrypted. In fact, it can actually be safer to pay using your Watch instead of a contact-less payment card since your personal details are never disclosed to the retailer.
Ultimately, you really don’t need antivirus software for your smartwatch. Just a sensible attitude, and a healthy disregard for your own intelligence.
For more, check out our
top tips for making your computer more secure.