Do we need one app for all of our wearables?

If you’re an early adopter of wearable technology, you may have picked up more than one since the different wristbands, headsets and other pieces of kit started hitting the market. The problem there, is of course along with the individual pieces of hardware, there’s also individual apps for every one of them. Fortunately though, for those struggling to keep up with all of their different application demands, a new app has just been released that is able to keep an eye on everything itself.

Well, not exactly everything, but the new RaMBLE app on the Google Play store can track all of the stats from all wearables that utilise Bluetooth 4.0 LTE in the nearby area, including popular ones like Nike’s Fuelband, Fitbit’s wrist trackers and Jawbone’s Up. However, it does this by exploiting the fact that the data from these wearables is unencrypted and can be grabbed from the air. It actually detects the information being broadcast by wearables within 100 metres of the smartphone using the application, so there’s a good chance anyone using it will able to pick up information from other people’s devices.

Some have suggested that this would be a great tool for testing the security of future wearables, while others say it’s a good method of hackers to learn a lot of information about users, potentially even stealing biometric data for use with future account cracking that utilises unique heart rhythms and other personal data for security clearance.

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The app was developed by researchers at the Context Information Security, which made the app more as an intriguing development than anything else. However lead researcher Scott Lester said to Forbes, that he thought it would be interesting to see if the tool could be used to track individual people or to give notifications when they are nearby – like a celebrity spotter that doesn’t require line of sight. It could also be used to figure out what wearables are most popular in particular parts of the world they said.

However this in turn raises questions about personal privacy and should highlight to wearable makers, that the next generation needs to have much better security, as if anyone can grab it, you know some nefarious individuals will find a way to use it for their own gains.

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