Endpoint
6/22/2015
03:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

FitBit, Acer Liquid Leap Fail In Security Fitness

Transmissions to the cloud are secured with these Internet of Things devices, but wristband-to-phone comms are open to eavesdropping.

If you don't want anyone to know how badly you missed your exercise goals this week, the Acer Liquid Leap is not the fitness tracker for you; and the FitBit Charge isn't much better. According to research released today by AV-TEST, while most fitness trackers succeeded at transmitting users' data to the cloud securely, some brands failed badly at locking down communications between the wristband devices and the smartphone apps.

 

AV-TEST examined nine different trackers: the Acer Liquid Leap, FitBit Charge, Garmin Vivosmart, Huawei TalkBand B1, Jawbone Up24, LG Lifeband Touch FB84, Polar Loop, Sony Smartband Talk SWR30, and Withings Pulse Ox.

 

Of those, the Sony Smartband Talk was the lowest-risk -- with the only complaint being that users could not deactivate Bluetooth on the wristband device -- followed by the Polar Loop. 

 

The one with the "highest probability of a successful attack" is the Acer Liquid Leap. (It's a product that Acer simply bought and sold with its own label on it, unmodified, so it is identical to products sold under other names, including the Striiv Touch, Tofasco 3 Plus Swipe, and Walgreens Activity Tracker. As AV-TEST points out, "It is not clear, however, whether the other vendors have modified the app and the firmware of the wristbands.") 

 

Among the complaints: Bluetooth cannot be deactivated on the Acer wristband; the wristband would "pair" with a smartphone without requiring any confirmation; the wristband can be used by several smartphones at once; the app does not use code obfuscation, and; the app reveals log data.

 

Second-worst was the FitBit Charge. It has many of the same failings as the Acer, but what researchers were particularly struck by was that the wristband wasn't at all picky about who it shared data with. 

 

"The fitness wristband FitBit Charge astonished the test engineers: Any smartphone with Bluetooth is welcome to the fitness tracker. It does not prompt for a PIN or other authentication – it simply connects and voluntarily hands over all its data. The data is not even encrypted or protected in other ways," AV-TEST said it in its report.

 

By comparison, the Sony Smartband Talk connects to smartphones automatically, but only with known, trusted devices. And although Bluetooth cannot be disabled on the Sony wristband, it does become invisible once it pairs with a device.

 

Why the cause for concern? "In the United States, for example, those who demonstrate good fitness using the tracker are eligible for lower premiums on their private health insurance. What would keep people from simply using the data of their neighbor of the same age with a much higher level of fitness? Those familiar with what people pay for health insurance in the United States know how great the criminal potential may be in this area," the report said.

 

Data manipulation could also be used for more personal attacks on fitness tracker users: "And if trackers can be manipulated, it won't be long before kids will be playing pranks on the jogging yuppie by increasing his blood pressure and pulse data by a few notches ... The current test indicates: the potential attack points are more than sufficient."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
pmccarthy471
100%
0%
pmccarthy471,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2015 | 9:36:24 AM
Re: Crime?
Yey!!!

Someone else on the planet has noticed that the Fault is NOT with the Insurance companies... They're stuck in the middle. The problem is the cost of health care!

Thing is, end users only "see" the Insurance companies, and are largely unaffected by reality...

 
pmccarthy471
50%
50%
pmccarthy471,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2015 | 9:33:15 AM
Re: Crime?
The article details all of the ways that you can SEE what the trackers have (READ) then goes on to say... gee, all of this is bad, because you can... (All of the bad things require WRITE access to the App or the device...)

 
BenM132
50%
50%
BenM132,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/24/2015 | 4:50:36 PM
Charge
I have a Fitbit Charge HR which I brought yesterday. It required a PIN to pair. Maybe there has been a software update since the research was carried out?
bhanstiu
50%
50%
bhanstiu,
User Rank: Strategist
6/23/2015 | 10:54:30 AM
Crime?
"Those familiar with what people pay for health insurance in the United States know how great the criminal potential may be in this area"


Yes, we do know we're being robbed by the health care system every day.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Security Technologies to Watch in 2017
Emerging tools and services promise to make a difference this year. Are they on your company's list?
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.