Smart wearables, fitness trackers, smartwatches. The growing popularity of these devices is a testament to our willingness to digitize even the minute details of our daily activities. Every single heartbeat tracked, each step logged, even rising up from a sedentary chair is a statistic worth recording.
The tiny motion sensors inside all these smart things make this all possible. Gyroscopes and accelerometers relay movement data constantly to a paired "mother" device like a smartphone or a computer. Without these sensors and the data they provide, those "please stand up" nags would not be possible.
But could this data stream then be intercepted and used for nefarious ends?
A recent research study by the Stevens Institute of Technology says so!
The researchers say that intercepted motion data from wearables could be used by hackers to deduce PIN keypad numbers and keyboard presses. Their sample data came from 20 individuals entering 5,000 key traces to various types of ATM and QWERTY style numerical keypads while wearing an assortment of wearables.
In the study, researchers found they could guess the PIN numbers 80 percent of the time after a single attempt, and 90 percent of the time after three attempts.