Your fitness tracker is vulnerable to hackers and eavesdroppers — should you worry?
Financial Post, Feb. 8, 2016 • You want to get healthy this year and you’ve armed yourself with a fitness tracking device to help you out. But is all that data — everything from your daily step count to your moods, blood pressure and heartbeat — safe?
That’s the question a recent study from the University of Toronto is raising, after finding that health and location data from a number of popular fitness trackers can be easily leaked and even manipulated to create fake records.
While some argue that consumers need not panic, the report raises important questions, as fitness-tracker information is increasingly used in everything from insurance to corporate wellness programs, and even as evidence in criminal court cases.
“We’ve seen instances where fitness tracking data has been used in courts of law to show that a person was doing something at a certain time,” said one of the study’s authors, Andrew Hilts, executive director of Open Effect and research fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. “The fact that we can retroactively insert records or delete them, can call into question the reliability of fitness tracking data as evidence.”