How safe is your Fitbit? Hackers targeting fitness watch users for ransom

Sami Khan
How safe is your Fitbit? Hackers targeting fitness watch users for ransom

If you are keeping up with the technology trend by picking up everything that's new, ranging from smart home appliances to fitness trackers for your wrist, you must take some precaution. Your smart gadgets like smartphones, smartwatches and smart televisions, leave you more exposed than ever, researchers have warned.

According to a joint report by the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency, cybercriminals are targeting users' personal information from their fitness trackers like FitBit and holding that against users for ransom. Hackers are developing software to steal information such as photos, emails and fitness progress, which tracks your sleeping patterns, GPS data and more.

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While most of the stolen information could be irrelevant to the dark web, it could be essential for the victim, for which they will be willing to pay for, the report revealed. The report comes shortly after the infamous WikiLeaks dump, which warned public about the risk phones and smart TVs pose and how the CIA and other agencies use them to spy on their owners.

The rise in connected devices gives opportunities for cybercriminals and poses a challenge for manufacturers. As per market analysis, there will be 21 billion connected devices across the world by 2020.

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"Ransomware on connected watches, fitness trackers and TVs will present a challenge to manufacturers, and it is not yet known whether customer support will extend to assisting with unlocking devices and providing advice on whether to pay a ransom," researchers noted in their study.

Earlier in January, some Fitbit accounts were attacked and personal account information was stolen. Fitbit then reset the passwords of the affected accounts and asked users to create new ones. But the company did not call that attack a hack, instead referred to it as "account takeovers."

"An 'account takeover' is a phenomenon that affects many popular online destinations, especially if attackers can find a way to make money. While it's not possible for someone to access your credit card information via your Fitbit account, we saw an elevated level of interest in Fitbit once attackers figured out it was sometimes possible to obtain a replacement (per our warranty) and then sell it," Fitbit had said in a statement in January.

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