Science & Technology

Consumers Fret Over Health Wearables Security

Accumulating well being and health information via wearable units is elevating issues amongst customers concerning the safety of that info.

Twenty-five p.c of greater than 3,500 customers who participated in a current survey didn’t imagine their private well being information was protected on health trackers or in health-tracking apps, reported

Contemplating the current headlines about well being information information breaches, akin to these at Anthem and the UCLA Medical Faculty, that share could also be a bit shocking.

“What’s exceptional right here is the numbers are as little as they’re,” stated Derek Gordon, common supervisor of healthcare IT at Healthline. “I might have anticipated the numbers to be increased.”

Then again, the findings could present elevated know-how amongst customers concerning the precise risk to their information.

“There are savvy customers that perceive that the well being information on their native gadget might be fairly safe from hackers,” Gordon advised TechNewsWorld.
“As soon as their information leaves their gadget and goes to the cloud, there is a higher concern about safety.”

Misplaced Worries

Almost half of wearable and cell well being app customers surveyed — 45 p.c — have been involved that hackers would possibly attempt to steal their private well being information from their wearables.

That fear could also be misplaced, maintained Ian Fogg, cell and telecommunications workforce chief at IHS.

“Sarcastically, smartphones gather significantly extra information than in the present day’s wearables, as a result of they’ve many extra sensors, in addition to wealthy functions which customers use for every kind of leisure, communications and productiveness functions,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

“Consumers typically concern the brand new,” Fogg added, “which in the present day are wearable units. Generally the areas which customers concern probably the most will not be all the time those that are the best risk.”

Nonetheless, customers undoubtedly have one thing to be involved about in relation to well being wearables information safety, in keeping with Dan Lyon, a senior safety guide at

“A 3rd of those medical cell apps do not use encryption, so its information is offered to anybody who can entry it,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

Furthermore, “a 3rd of those cell medical apps actively share information, so not solely are hackers a priority, however the firms making the apps have an incentive to share the info to make a revenue,” Lyon added.

Enticing Goal

On the very least, firms that collect information from wearable well being and health units ought to anonymize it earlier than sharing it, suggested Lyon.

“What these firms must be doing,” he stated, “is once they combination this information, they need to guarantee which you could’t establish an individual from it.”

That may decrease the hurt to customers if information is compromised in a breach.

“If there is no method to tie this information again to you, your concern of threat must be low,” stated Lee Kim, director of privateness and safety expertise options on the
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, advised TechNewsWorld.

Healthcare info of any variety is a sexy goal for hackers, famous Bob Hansmann, director of product safety at

“Formal healthcare data maintain a treasure trove of information that’s precious to an attacker. No different single kind of report comprises as a lot precious [personal identifying information] that can be utilized in a large number of various follow-up assaults and fraud,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

“A lot of this similar info is collected from the wearable units that hundreds of thousands of customers put on,” Hansmann added. “It’s completely essential that customers verify the settings of those units to make sure that they’re solely amassing or have entry to information that’s essential for the precise intent of the gadget.”

What ought to wearable well being and health gadget and app makers take away from the Healthline survey?

“Anybody holding private well being info within the cloud has to guarantee customers that within the inevitable occasion that one thing will get hacked, safety will likely be restored shortly,” Healthline’s Gordon stated. “They need to be assured that the harm to them will likely be minimized to the best diploma doable.”
Consumers Fret Over Health Wearables Security

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