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Rethinking Wearable Technology In An Era of Physical-Digital Innovations

Experiencing and using the latest innovations in technology is always exciting—and wearable devices are no exception. Driven by technological advances, social factors, and the Internet of Things, consumers everywhere are enthusiastically embracing wearable technology. As a result, being connected to the Internet is becoming a part of daily life, creating a reality where the physical and digital worlds intersect and overlap at an unprecedented rate, often leaving security behind.

Physical-Digital Innovations Allow Us To Experience The World In Unprecedented Ways

Connected consumers are increasingly seeking ways to improve experiences and enhance their physical lives. Physical-digital innovations are making this possible with connected devices, wearables, applications, and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.   

Wearables like the Google Glass, iWatch, and Nike Fitbit are allowing consumers to integrate their physical and digital lives by tracking physical aspects and wirelessly transmitting and syncing all types of information within the cloud.

RFID technology—probably one of the least heard about components of the Internet of Things—plays a vital role in our digital ecosystems, driving connectivity and enabling the tracking and syncing of physical information into digital systems. RFID chips are being embedded into a growing list of things, giving rise to the use of RFID-enabled solutions in a range of areas including modern connected hospitals, smart shopping apps, devices that automatically pay your bridge toll, government issued US passports, and even credit card payment systems.

In fact, credit cards with RFID smart chips are set to become the standard in the US by 2015—most likely you already own one—meaning there’s one more thing to add to the mix in our digital ecosystems and to consider when securing our information. These new credit cards will include an RFID smart chip in addition to the traditional magnetic strip as a gradual transition is made towards a more secure card payment system, allowing retailers time to make the change to smart card readers.

As physical-digital innovations continue to take form, RFID technology and wearables are likely to become more prevalent, thus its important to know how to secure our information since we constantly allow connected devices, applications, and chips to collect, store, and share our personal data.

RFID Credit Cards Pose Security Concerns

RFID chips can store and transmit data—such as your credit card numbers, and even your identity—over radio signals, which can be read by special antennas. From there the data goes into a computer database.

In an effort to thwart point-of-sales (POS) data breaches, smart chip credit cards will replace traditional magnetic strip cards as mandated by law. The embedded microchip, which stores the data that's needed to make a transaction, allows consumers to pay without the need to swipe, thus avoiding contact with point of sales terminals and potential POS malware attacks.

But this new initiative doesn’t come without security speculations. Despite the claims that RFID smart chip technology makes payment systems more secure, security vulnerabilities have been uncovered and data-stealing tools have been effective in capturing data contained in RFID tags within three feet. If the information contained within the RFID tag is not encrypted, all it takes is an RFID scanner to capture and steal your information. 

Moreover, the NFC technology found in newer smartphones has made the hacking process even simpler. Cybercrooks equipped with an NFC enabled smartphone can devise a system to capture the personal data embedded within RFID chips by making simple firmware modifications and using an application.

Wearables Protected By Norton Shields Consumers From Digital Pickpocketing

While the devices that we commonly think of as wearable technology can compromise personal information due to privacy and security risks, a new form of wearable technology, now available, can do the exact opposite by protecting its users from digital pickpocketing—a growing threat to consumers. Offered by Betabrand and protected by Norton, this new clothing innovation, protects the digital information you carry with you.

The dark pockets in the Work it Blazer and Ready Active Jeans protected by Norton shield information from data-thieves with RFID blocking technology that prevents the smart chips in your pockets from transmitting information. To protect your personal data in today’s ever connected and wireless digital world, simply place any card with an embedded RFID chip into a Norton dark pocket.

With the holidays around the corner—a time when data-thieves are known to attack—and and smart chip credit cards set to become the standard, this wearable technology couldn’t have come at a better time!

Staying informed is key

Despite the many threats and security vulnerabilities present in today’s digital landscape, you can still enjoy your connected technology, including wearables and RFID credit cards as long as you are aware of the risks and take measures to secure your information. As the leader in cybersecurity, Norton brings you the best in class protection with Norton Security to protect your information on any device, and now this security extends into wearable clothing to protect the data in your pockets.