Can a smart­watch get a virus?

If you've got a new An­droid Wear watch you might be won­der­ing whether it needs se­cu­rity soft­ware

Android Advisor - - Adroid Advisor -

Can a smart­watch get a virus? Yes. But it won't. How­ever, you do need to se­cure your wear­able. Here are our cru­cial tips for pro­tect­ing your smart­watch.

The na­ture of per­sonal tech is that de­vices such as smartphones, tablets and - yes - smart­watches are vul­ner­a­ble to theft or hack. If some­one ac­cess your smart­watch, they could likely ac­cess 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 smart­phone. It con­nects to your phone via Blue­tooth or some other wire­less tech. This peer-topeer con­nec­tiv­ity should mean that it is more safe than even your smart­phone. Or, to put it an­other way, a hacker would have to hack into your phone to get at your smart­watch (and once they are in your phone they don't need your 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?

That threat is two-fold, and very real. But not the big­gest threat you face ev­ery day you trans­act on­line. Be­cause de­spite what an­tivirus mak­ers will tell you, there isn't re­ally a di­rect mal­ware threat aimed at your An­droid smart­phone, nor your An­droid Wear watch. Smart­watches are a tiny nascent mar­ket. Yes, where there is data and tran­sa­tion there is a po­ten­tial threat, but there are many more easy ways of steal­ing your data than in­stalling mal­ware on your smart­watch.

The prin­ci­pal two of those threats: hard­ware theft and your be­hav­iour.

Sim­ply, if you are walk­ing the streets wav­ing around a smart­watch that set you back £300, you are vul­ner­a­ble to per­sonal theft. It shouldn't hap­pen, but we all know that it does.

I'm not about to tell you not to wear your watch, nor to be scared as you walk the mean streets. But it does make sense to be dis­creet when re­quired. And as with a phone, the abil­ity to block and track your watch if it is stolen, is an im­por­tant safe­guard. Per­sonal se­cu­rity via a pass­word, finger­print or pass­code is valu­able, too. Even if some­one nicks your watch, they can't ac­cess your data. (If you can re­motely track- and brick it, so much the bet­ter.)

The ar­gu­ment for se­cu­rity soft­ware

And that is where the other threat vec­tor can be found. As de­scribed above, it is very dif­fi­cult for some­one to in­fect your smart­watch via a driveby attack. But if you can be per­suaded to give up your de­tails via a phish­ing attack they don't need to. 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 that 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.

But in gen­eral you re­ally don't need se­cu­rity soft­ware for any wear­able. Just a sen­si­ble at­ti­tude, and a healthy dis­re­gard for your own in­tel­li­gence.

You don't need se­cu­rity soft­ware for any wear­able, just a sen­si­ble at­ti­tude

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