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Selling Second-Hand Wearables Risky, Tech Boss Warns

Wearable owners should be wary about reselling devices online or directly to another person as it puts their personal data at risk, one tech boss has warned.

Russ Ersnt, Executive Vice President for Products and Technology at Blancco, says products such as smartwatches and health trackers contain highly-sensitive personal details which could be found in the wrong hands.

Ernst says selling used wearable devices online can be a risky move.

“As smartwatches and fitness trackers grow more advanced, a growing number of consumers will look to upgrade and trade in or sell their used devices on third-party sites and apps such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp,” he shared in a blogpost.

“Wearable owners should be aware that selling devices on these sorts of marketplaces or even directly to another individual risks putting personal data in the wrong hands.”

Before selling wearable devices such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit online, Ersnt says there are a number of ways users can ensure their personal data is protected.

The first is to disconnect the wearable from any smartphones or apps it may be connected to.

The second is to restore the smartwatch or tracker to ‘factory settings’, which should render any data left on the device inaccessible.

The warning comes after tech company Blancco conducted an experiment to determine how often personal data can still be found on second-hand devices sold online.

“We wanted to determine how many used SSD and HDD computer hard drives being sold on eBay still contained personal data,” Ersnt said. “Our study found that of the 159 drives we purchased, 42% contained sensitive data and 15% contained Personally Identifiable Information (PII). One of the drives even included scanned images of family passports, birth certificates, CVs and financial records.”

He added: “In a world where our personal data is highly valuable to hackers, the responsibility to protect personal health details, prevent the sale of personal information on the dark web and lower the risk of identity theft truly belongs to the wearable user.”

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