Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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
 

Recommended Reading:

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.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25747
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
The Telnet service of Rubetek RV-3406, RV-3409, and RV-3411 cameras (firmware versions v342, v339) can allow a remote attacker to gain access to RTSP and ONFIV services without authentication. Thus, the attacker can watch live streams from the camera, rotate the camera, change some settings (brightn...
CVE-2020-25748
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
A Cleartext Transmission issue was discovered on Rubetek RV-3406, RV-3409, and RV-3411 cameras (firmware versions v342, v339). Someone in the middle can intercept and modify the video data from the camera, which is transmitted in an unencrypted form. One can also modify responses from NTP and RTSP s...
CVE-2020-25749
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
The Telnet service of Rubetek cameras RV-3406, RV-3409, and RV-3411 cameras (firmware versions v342, v339) could allow an remote attacker to take full control of the device with a high-privileged account. The vulnerability exists because a system account has a default and static password. The Telnet...
CVE-2020-24592
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
Mitel MiCloud Management Portal before 6.1 SP5 could allow an attacker, by sending a crafted request, to view system information due to insufficient output sanitization.
CVE-2020-24593
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
Mitel MiCloud Management Portal before 6.1 SP5 could allow a remote attacker to conduct a SQL Injection attack and access user credentials due to improper input validation.