How safe is your quantified self? Tracking, monitoring, and wearable tech

Symantec the computer security firm has published an article about how people using portable fitness monitors and other bluetooth enabled “life-loggers” can be tracked using a device as simple and cheap as a Raspberry Pi mini computer.

Symantic researchers used the Rasberry Pi computer as a Bluetooth scanner, which they took out to athletic events and public spaces.  Using the improvised scanner, they were able to detect life-logging devices from the Bluetooth signals broadcast by the devices and track them using the unique hardware addresses they transmit.

The researchers claim that depending on the devices configuration, remote querying could be possible with some devices which reveal device characteristics and allow users to be tracked.  The researchers also highlighted that some 20% of devices transmitted user details in plain text which has obvious security concerns.

The researchers concluded that:

“From the results of this research, it appears that manufacturers of these devices (including market leaders) have not seriously considered or addressed the privacy implications of wearing their products.  As a result, the devices, and by association the wearers can be easily tracked by anybody with some basic skills and a few cheap tools.”

For more detailed information the Symantic researchers have written a white paper on the their findings called: How Safe is your quantified self.