A Guide to Securing Your Smartwatch

The humble smartwatch has taken the world by storm in recent years, with more and more people becoming interested in the multi-purpose, portable gadget. Last year alone, 20.1 million smartwatches were sold in the United States – a number only expected to increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

A Brief Overview of the Smartwatch

It’s not exactly a known fact when the first smartwatch was first introduced, with some claiming it was Seiko’s foray into the tech back in the 90s that should be considered the pioneering steps. Others claim it was actually Bill Gates’ failed introduction of his own version back in 2003. Whoever it was that launched the first smartwatch, one thing’s clear: we’ve come a long way since then.

Today’s smartwatches are constantly evolving, with new features added into the tiny portable tech each year. While the watches were initially more popular with the fitness market, they are now more appealing to the general population, with features like GPS tracking and camera syncing gaining traction. These complex features are made possible through smart engineering, which makes use of evolving PCB technology. Now what is a PCB, exactly, and why is it so crucial for complex smartwatches? A PCB or a printed circuit board is a mechanical structure that contains an electrical circuit. This circuit has the components that are essentially the heart of any gadget, as it has the processors, memory, and other crucial components. In the case of the smartwatch, the more advanced the PCB is, the more complex commands and features become possible.

As the components and the designs of smartwatches improve, so does the popularity – some even speculate that they may eventually replace smartphones. However, along with this popularity is the increase in attacks like theft and malware, as well as issues surrounding data privacy. If you own a smartwatch, you have to be aware of these risks and take the necessary steps to minimize them. Read on to find out how you can do this today.

Tips for Securing Your Smartwatch

Buy from a credible company. Security measures should start before you even get a smartwatch, and the best way to do this is to choose recognizable and credible brands. With thousands of smartwatches currently on the market, you can narrow down your choices significantly by choosing big companies like Apple or Android. While they may be more expensive options, you can rest assured knowing that such big corporations are less likely to cut corners when it comes to keeping their products secure. You can also read reviews or news articles that have to do with the company’s or specific watch’s track record.

Update your software. Just as you’re often advised to keep your phone or laptop updated to keep your data safe, the same goes for your smartwatch. This is because with most updates, more security measures are put in place to prevent hackers from accessing your data. Check for updates every now and then, or turn on automatic updates to make it easier to keep up. Make sure to keep your smartwatch plugged in during the actual update.

Enable anti-theft settings. Most smartwatches will have some sort of anti-theft setting that you can customize. For example, Apple’s smartwatches give you the option to turn on the ‘Activation Lock,’ which limits who can pair with your watch based on the permissions you set.

Limit the data you give. The most glaring weak point in smartwatch security is definitely the amount of data hackers, and even companies, have access to. Luckily, you can control which data is recorded and shared by tweaking your privacy settings. You can choose to record only the data that matters to you. For instance, you may want to count your steps but don’t necessarily want to track your sleeping habits. You can turn these on and off depending on your preference.

Use two-factor authentication. Lastly, enable two-factor authentication or 2FA for an extra layer of protection when using your smartwatch. For most smartwatches, 2FA requires you to input a code that is sent to a trusted device (like your phone) in order to access your smartwatch. This ensures that no one else can access the data stored in your smartwatch but you.

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