Technology

Data Sent Between Phones and Smartwatches Wide Open to Hackers

This undated product image provided by Samsung shows the Gear S watch. Samsung unveiled the new Gear S, the company’s fourth major smartwatch in a year, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Samsung)
This undated product image provided by Samsung shows the Gear S watch. Samsung unveiled the new Gear S, the company’s fourth major smartwatch in a year, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Samsung)

(Ars Technica) – The growing number of smart devices that interoperates with smartphones could leave text messages, calendar entries, biometric data, and other sensitive user information wide open to hackers, security researchers warn.

That’s because most smart watches rely on a six-digit PIN to secure information traveling to and from connected Android smartphones. With only one million possible keys securing the Bluetooth connection between the handset and the smart device, the PINs are susceptible to brute-force attacks, in which a nearby hacker attempts every possible combination until finding the right one.

Researchers from security firm Bitdefender mounted a proof-of-concept hack against a Samsung Gear Live smartwatch that was paired with a Google Nexus 4 running Android L Preview. Using readily available hacking tools, they found that the PIN obfuscating the Bluetooth connection between the two devices was easily brute forced. From that point on, they were able to monitor the information passing between the watch and the phone.

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