Most Americans Track Health Data on IoT Devices, Says Survey

Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Nov 20, 2020

Only a little of a third of Americans do not track or record health data with devices connected to the Internet, according to a recent survey from nCipher Security. The majority of Americans track their health data with IoT devices, which breaks down into the following methods:

  • 23% use smartphone apps
  • 19% use a health care provider’s website
  • 13% use connected scales
  • 12% use wearables such as Fitbits
  • 10% use an Apple Watch or similar device.

However, Americans are more concerned about their financial information being hacked over their health data, as stated by the nCipher survey. 42% of the survey’s respondents said that they are most concerned about their financial information being hacked, while only 14% said their healthcare data was their greatest hacking concern. In the same vein, 46% of the group felt most vulnerable sharing their credit card or social security numbers over the phone, while only 16% felt most vulnerable while downloading health records or using an IoT medical device.

Despite this lack of concern when compared to financial information, the majority of the survey’s respondents said that they want medical devices to use encryption to prevent security vulnerabilities. Peter Galvin, Chief Strategy Officer at nCipher, wrote,

“Clearly, the stakes are high for connected device manufacturers and others that touch Americans’ healthcare data. That means these organizations must take care to protect those devices and that information. And they need to lead the way for consumers, who may not always understand what’s at risk until it’s too late.”

Fitness App PumpUp Has Security Vulnerabilities

About a year ago, security researcher Oliver Hough found a security vulnerability in PumpUp, a fitness and workout community app. The flaw would allow anyone to see user content including email addresses, birthdays, current location, workout and activity data, profile photos, and private messages. There was also health data exposed that users had submitted themselves, like their heights, weights, smoking habits, medications, and more. While this particular app had over six million users as of a year ago, similar apps like MyFitnessPal and Strava both exposed customer data, validating Galvin’s plea for health companies to improve their cybersecurity.