Smart watches may be vulnerable to hacking

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Smart watches can be hacked, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

During a presentation at the MobiCom 2015 conference in Paris, and using a homegrown app on a Samsung Gear Live smartwatch, researchers showed they could guess what a user was typing. This was through data “leaks” from motion sensors in smart watches. The project is called Motion Leaks through Smartwatch Sensors (MoLe) and shows sensor data from wearable devices may violate privacy, according to Romit Roy Choudhury, Ph.D, associate professor.

The app uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to track motion on the keyboard. The work, funded by the National Science Foundation, has implications not only for consumers but long-term care residents wearing smart devices, with Choudhury noting the service can violate privacy. One solution may be to lower the sample rate of sensors in the watch, researchers said.