The leak of a database of 61 million customers of neatly being-monitoring gadgets involves records on folk located in the UK

Alex Scroxton


  • Alex Scroxton,
    Safety Editor

Published: 14 Sep 2021 14: 13

The leak of a database of the records of customers of Apple HealthKit and Google FitBit services and products, alongside plenty of different brands of fitness tracker products, has highlighted once extra the important importance of securing endeavor databases, and can build extra than 61 million folks – including an unknown number in the UK – at threat of compromise by opportunistic cyber criminals.

The unsecured, 16.7GB database, which used to be left uncovered to the general public details superhighway without password protection, used to be uncovered by Web dwelling Planet and security researcher Jeremiah Fowler, and is owned by GetHealth, a Recent York-based completely mostly provider of neatly being details services and products.

Recordsdata aspects uncovered in the leak integrated names, dates of birth, weight, height, gender and space. Affected folk are located correct thru the arena, acknowledged Fowler, who uncovered the database on 30 June 2021, in response to ZDNet.

“I straight despatched a accountable disclosure demand of my findings and bought a acknowledge the following day thanking me for the notification and confirming that the uncovered details had been secured,” he acknowledged.

Fowler acknowledged it used to be unclear how prolonged the details records had been uncovered, or whether or now now not they had been accessed by malicious actors, nor did he point out any wrongdoing by GetHealth, its customers or partners.

“We’re handiest highlighting our discovery to receive awareness of the hazards and cyber security vulnerabilities posed by IoT [internet of things], wearable gadgets, fitness and neatly being trackers, and how that details is kept,” he acknowledged.

Whereas most owners of wearable gadgets could well even be tempted to lift that no cyber felony could well even be in a position to be attracted to their on a conventional basis step count, right here’s now now not essentially the case. As an instance, such details could well also theoretically be aged to track the actions of somebody who walks their dog at the identical time every day and therefore after they’re now now not at threat of be at home.

Even even supposing it’s miles maybe now now not really that the frequent burglar would dart to such lengths to target a victim, Fowler pointed out that as wearable technology is developed and iterated, gadgets gain increasingly extra intimate details that would even be extra treasured to malicious actors. As an instance, they would possibly maybe well also grunt details on folks which bask in plan weight loss targets to target them with phishing emails the usage of weight loss design or personal coaching plans as a trap.

A redacted sample of the uncovered details plan finds details on UK residents

Commenting on the incident, ProPrivacy’s Hannah Hart suggested customers of fitness-monitoring apps and gadgets to establish their privacy settings straight, and be vigilant towards imaginable be conscious-on incidents.

“Whereas wearable gadgets bask in made it that worthy more uncomplicated to track our weight, sleep patterns, and even our relationship with alcohol – we on occasion need this details to be broadly accessible as a particular person’s neatly being historical previous could well also gentle be completely confidential,” she acknowledged. “Whereas GetHealth has since secured the affected database, it’s miles outwardly yet unclear who could well also need had access to the beforehand unsecured database and for the manner prolonged.”

Comforte AG’s Trevor Morgan acknowledged the brief rise and trend of fitness trackers reflected the truth that of us procure pleasure from monitoring their very possess growth in the direction of their targets.

“The ‘quantified self’ circulation now now not handiest received traction but went from zero to 100mph in a brief time,” he acknowledged. “Unnecessary to claim, this details in the kill winds up in repositories, allowing us to analyse that details from many replacement angles and then build historical comparisons as time goes on. That’s loads of personal details just a few extremely sensitive topic most of us are hoping is saved wholly fetch.”

Morgan acknowledged the incident highlighted the necessity for details responsibility, security and privacy to be baked into organisational cultures, and popular that it also highlights every other strong argument for transferring a ways from historical protection methods, akin to passwords, perimeter security and easy methods of details access management. Adopting details-centric security policies can dart some manner in the direction of reducing the threat, he acknowledged, while tokenising key details substances can reduction to ensure details can now now not be exploited by the infamous particular person if it does leak.

“On the tip of the day, utilising as many protection methods as imaginable is the correct manner to switch,” he acknowledged. “The replacement is an grunt in incident management and the accompanying unfavorable fallout – and that’s presumably the most punishing grunt of bright in any endeavor.”

From a compliance standpoint, ProPrivacy’s Hart acknowledged the incident highlighted wider privacy considerations spherical wearable technology itself. In the US, as an illustration, federal law protects neatly being details from being disclosed without patient consent below the Health Insurance protection Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

“HIPAA regulations would mechanically provide protection to this details, but for the reason that details peaceful by wearables isn’t belief to be PHI

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except shared with a doctor or clinical institution, some firms could well even be in a position to sell or fragment it with third events,” she acknowledged.

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