Get fit, but don’t get hacked!

July 27, 2017 3:29 pm Paul Mullin

Lots of us now use apps or devices to track fitness, whether it’s trying to hit that ever-important step goal or to keep track of what you’re eating, so you can see if that sweet tooth is adding up to a whole lot of trouble.

As useful and ingrained into our daily lives as these devices and apps have become, there is a concern that they could be hacked. This could lead to the theft of sensitive personal information with victims potentially facing ransoms for the safe undisclosed return of that information.

Cyber report shows that connected devices are targets

A joint report released this year from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) found that the continued popularity of internet-connected devices has created more and more opportunity for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in devices.


With huge amounts of personal information now stored on these gadgets, such as medications, dietary needs and lifestyle information it can prove a very lucrative device to attack for hackers.

Cyber-attacks are continually evolving and it is up to businesses to work together to reduce the threat posed to enterprise and to protect people’s valuable data.

How to cut down the risk posed to these products?

One of the most obvious ways is to make sure that your devices and apps are up to date and that you regularly check for updates if you don’t have them on automatically. Hackers are always looking for loopholes or backdoors into apps and devices via unnoticed vulnerabilities so it’s important to install the latest version of your app and software.

If you’re a business providing connected devices or health orientated apps then it’s also important that you and your development team are constantly looking at ways to protect data and ensure there aren’t any vulnerabilities for a hacker to exploit.

Data breaches will become costlier next year

There is an onus on developers to prioritise security for any program that collects personal data. This information needs to remain safe and secure otherwise it’s the app developers or fitness tracker manufacturers who will ultimately pay the price.

This is especially true with the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May next year. Businesses will need to pay special attention to customer data, and will need to treat that data as they wished their own data to be treated.

The new regulation requires that organisations must disclose the use of customer data and for how long, if they are an EU citizen. Any data breach must also be recorded within a 72-hour timeframe. Failure to adhere to GDPR could see companies face steep fines – as much as 4% of their global turnover or 20,000,000 EUR, whichever is higher.

For more information about GDPR and how our new MetaPrivacy product can help you avoid huge fines and reduce the risk of a data breach, click here.