'Safety' Smartwatches for Children Are Easy to Hack, says Watchdog

By Tom Pritchard on at

Stop me if you've heard of a scenario like this before. Someone releases a product designed to make life easier or more secure, in this case a smartwatch for kids, but under closer scrutiny it turns out its full of serious security holes.

The Norwegian Consumer Council tested a number of smartwatches designed for kids, including Gator and GPS for Kids. These devices are designed to let parents track the location of their kids and communicate with them if need be. What the NCC found, however, was that they were riddled with security holes that attackers could exploit.

Not only could they attack and communicate with the kids wearing the watches, it was even found to be possible to spoof the location and make the kid wearing it appear as though they were somewhere completely different.

According to the NCC these watches have been storing and transmitting data without encrypting it first, so it doesn't take much for a hacker to be able to break in and exploit what they find. Because of this John Lewis has withdrawn at least one of the watches from sale, and consumer rights group Which? has criticised them for their "shoddy" design - noting that parents would be appalled if they knew just how risky they were.

GPS for Kids claims to have solved the security issues, and will offer existing customers a free upgrade. Gator claims that it has moved its data to an encrypted server, and is working on a more secure app. Or maybe they should have done all this in the first place, rather than releasing something so deliberately insecure. No encryption? Who are they, Amber Rudd?

But seriously, if you have kids and they wear one of these get rid of it ASAP. They're better off without it. Just give them an old feature phone or something instead. [BBC News]


More Security Posts: