Apple Watch Puts Data Security Onus On Mobile Apps

Beyond the Apple Watch’s price tag and modern design choices, security and privacy concerns are already part of the buzz. Apple is describing the watch as their most personal product ever made, breaking new ground in the relationship that people have with technology. It’s the first Apple device designed to be worn, a fusion of technology and fashion we haven’t seen before now. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, shared that its list of features is a mile long, including fitness tracking, fast payments and even remotely opening doors as part of Starwood Hotel’s customer experience strategy.

But is the Apple Watch pushing the envelope on data privacy and security? It will serve many different purposes over what is expected to be a growing number of apps – apps collecting thousands of data points about the most personal details of our lives. This will create a wealth of digital information highly coveted on the black market and consequently targeted by sophisticated data thieves.

Data Breach

Consider that in the case of fitness and health monitoring, stolen health data is worth 10X more than financial data, according to Reuters.1 It can be used to cash in on fraudulent insurance claims, obtain prescriptions and gain access to bank accounts. Plus, mobile payment apps that enable users to make purchases simply by lifting their wrist could potentially create another avenue for bank account access.

But so far, Apple is continuing its trust-worthy legacy as a company focused on security and privacy. They assure users that they have data protection covered. In addition to advanced PIN and Touch ID technologies authorizing device access, the Apple Watch does not send data to external data stores. In fact, all data collected on the device is sent to your smartphone, remaining in your control. The biggest concern in the security discussion so far is the security of data as it is transferred between the watch and your phone, but the risks of theft or interception for this small amount of data are extremely low.

However, the real security and privacy concerns actually begin with you, the user. The data remains in your control on your phone to the point that you push it out to mobile apps you download and use. And this is where the trouble starts. Gartner predicts by 2017, the focus of endpoint breaches will shift to tablets and smartphones, and 75 percent of mobile security breaches are the result of mobile application misconfiguration and misuse, usually at the hands of small app developers.2

So while the Apple Watch can be considered secure, its role in amassing huge amounts of detailed, highly personal data could make it an unwitting accomplice in cyber crime. The nature and volume of the data it captures holds the potential to create tangential opportunities for thieves.

As the Apple Watch and more smart devices gain popularity, it will lead to more mobile app development, especially as businesses seek new ways to improve customer experience. It will be increasingly important for app developers to take the threat of data breaches seriously and ensure their customer identity management capabilities follow data security and privacy best practices, such as accessing a single customer view, centralized authorization governance and fine grain policy controls. Having a solid identity management platform that enables these best practices is critical to building a successful ecosystem in which technology innovation such as the Apple Watch can flourish.



Giving customers a choice in how their data is used is going to be important to the success of connected devices. Learn how to build these capabilities into your technology infrastructure in the white paper Consumer Preference & Privacy Management: Gain a Competitive Edge by Empowering Your Customers.

This article was originally published on the UnboundID Blog.


This article was written by Emeka Obianwu from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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