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CHIPS Articles: Security smarts for smartwatches

Security smarts for smartwatches
By Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC - September 26, 2017
Smartwatches have quickly gone from sci-fi to commonplace, and it’s easy to see why. Users can conveniently manage messages, music, fitness, and more right from their wrists as they go about the day.

But enjoying the convenience of a smartwatch means trusting it to keep your data safe. Smartwatches offer a variety of security features, so keep security in mind when you shop for one. Not all security features come set up right out of the box. Be sure to check your settings and turn on the ones you want. For example, many smartwatches offer screen lock features, which you should use to help ensure your data is private. You may be able to:

  • set a PIN: Set up a short PIN that you can type to unlock the watch.
  • create a pattern lock: Create a pattern that you can draw on your screen to unlock it.
  • use your phone: Have your watch lock if it’s too far from your phone to “pair.”
  • detect your wrist: Set your watch to lock when you take it off your wrist.

Security experts are looking for ways to make smartwatch security stronger and more convenient—including locking in particular—so keep an eye out for new and easier ways to protect yourself from others getting access to the data on your smartwatch. In the meantime, be sure to check out tips from the Federal Trade Commission for securing your data on smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.

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