The event Apple is hosting today is expected to be all about the much-anticipated Apple Watch. It’s been called the most intriguing piece of hardware hitting stores this year. One of the main benefits of wearable tech such as the Apple Watch is that it is built to seamlessly share personal information. However, the introduction of the Apple Watch will only heighten the amount of data processed by an individual, so it is critical to keep in mind that personal information will be more accessible to the public.
ISACA, a global association of 115,000 cybersecurity, IT governance and assurance professionals, recently conducted a survey on U.S. consumers’ thoughts about wearables. The results revealed that 45% of respondents said the growth of connected devices has increased their data privacy concerns, but 1 in 7 will still have a smartwatch on their wish lists.
ISACA recommends taking the following precautions so gadget-lovers can embrace the technology but remain vigilant about their data:
- Carefully choose the information to share and avoid functions or apps that do not allow control over the level of sharing. The Apple Watch appears to be reasonably secure, but downloaded apps can collect personal information such as GPS location, exercise routes, heart rates, sleep patterns, weight, diet, mood, surroundings and more. The sharing of information gathered from third parties should be controlled and monitored frequently.
- Check bank statements regularly if Apple Pay is used. One of the most appealing features of the new Apple Watch is the Apple Pay function. Apple Pay is rumored to be able to authorize payments when the smartwatch is being worn by its owner. If this doesn’t sound secure to you, you’re not alone. According to a Walker Sands Communications study, only 1% of consumers think smartphones are the most secure form of payment, compared to 56% who say cash ranks number one. This presents Apple with the opportunity to shift consumers’ thinking about mobile payment security. For instance, the Apple Watch reportedly has the ability to authorize payments only while it is being worn and automatically locks up when taken off, until put back on and re-authenticated by the owner. Consumers should still keep track of their financial accounts used by Apple Pay as retailers and banks are adapting to this new technology.
- Stay up to date on Apple Watch updates. Apple is generally quick about detecting problems and fixing them through an update. It’s important to frequently update your devices to ensure that your personal information is protected.
- Protect personal information that will be visible to the public. The most convenient feature of the Apple Watch is that timely updates will appear on the screen, but do you really want people around you to know that you’ve received a text, that you have another meeting to go to or that your heart rate is skyrocketing after a tough question was asked? Get to know the device, and make it a habit to turn off visible notifications as the situation demands.
As technology becomes more accessible to consumers, it’s important to keep in mind that there are potential security risks that come with the added convenience. It’s critical to make lifestyle adaptions that allow you to enjoy the accessibility to information and functions, while maintaining a comfortable level of privacy.
Rob Clyde, CISM, is international vice president of ISACA and managing director of Clyde Consulting LLC.