Warning about security of kids' smartwatches - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Warning about security of kids' smartwatches

Source: File Source: File
(WWBT) -

There's a new warning out about the safety of kids' smartwatches, which are marketed as a way to help keep your kids safe.

Kids' smartwatches come with a GPS tracker, and often a screen and microphone. Now, a new report says those features can be hacked with terrifying implications.

A coalition of consumer groups is asking the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into new safety concerns with kids' smartwatches. This comes on the heels of a frightening new report from the Norwegian Consumer Council, which tested several of those watches and found critical security flaws.

The researchers were able to hack into the tracking element, and easily find the location of the watch wearers. Many of these watches include an app the parent can use to track the child. 

The hackers spoofed a phony location to that app, so it looked like the wearer was in one location, when he was actually far away.

The researchers also hacked into the cameras and microphones on several of the kids' watches, allowing them to eavesdrop and even communicate with the wearers.

If all of that isn't creepy enough, the researchers say the data isn't encrypted and was easily sent to servers elsewhere, meaning if hackers get into your kid's watch camera, someone in another country could watch them.

"Unfortunately, when you're talking about cheaper versions of something, like technology, there's a reason it's cheaper, and sometimes that reason is there's not nearly as much money spent on the safety of that product, and the security of that data that it holds," said a security expert.

The consumer groups are asking for the FTC to ask fast, given how serious these risks are. 

Meanwhile, one watchmaker has pulled its watch from store shelves, and others are trying to shore up the data security. 

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