From cybersecurity threats to physical safety concerns, a whole host of issues are driving the rising importance of safety and security in our daily lives.
One of the biggest drivers of this trend is the increasing reliance on technology in virtually every aspect of our lives. With the rise of the internet and the proliferation of connected devices, we’re more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats than ever before. Hackers and other cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities in our systems, and as a result, we need to be increasingly vigilant about protecting ourselves and our data.
And GPS tracking devices are not an exception. Overall, tracking mechanisms are used by multiple industries to capitalise on customer data, offer users customised products and services, and grow businesses. However, it has also created a lot of controversies around consumer privacy, wherein users are sceptical about sharing their personal data.
GPS trackers rely on Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that offers location details using satellite signals. One of the initial uses of GPS technology was to help people navigate, but today it can be used to monitor and track vehicles, people, pets, assets, etc.
In fact, commercial vehicle businesses heavily rely on GPS trackers to achieve greater efficiency. One can get directions to places and find your closest services of interest, like cinemas, restaurants, and shops, with apps that use GPS. GPS-enabled fitness apps can track where you’ve been and how far you’ve walked, run, cycled, surfed, or swum.
Security Issues in GPS Trackers
Nevertheless, along with its rising importance, security issues have become apparent with GPS tracking. Indeed, one of the biggest security concerns of GPS trackers is inadequate encryption and hacking. If a device can track you, it implies it has data about your movements and location, which can jeopardise your personal safety.
If someone has access to your GPS location data, they could quickly figure out where you, your devices, and other assets are. Moreover, security loopholes in GPS trackers can be easily exploited. A study shows that 600,000 unprotected trackers with default passwords are in use worldwide, offering an opportunity to hackers on a silver plate!
Wearable devices that use GPS tracking are also subject to huge risks. Another study points out that these trackable devices are vulnerable to location tracking, storage, and management of personal consumer data–for example, passwords being shared in explicit texts.
Ways to Tackle Security Concerns
So, how can we stay safe and secure in this brave new world? Well, we can do plenty of things to minimise risks from GPS tracking devices and protect ourselves from harm.
Ensure Strong Passwords for GPS Devices
This goes without saying–protect your GPS devices and data-receiving apps with strong passwords. Do not set passwords that are easy to guess, like birthdates, last names, etc. If two-step authentication is available, always opt for it. Ensure that your devices have robust security settings and do not leave them on the default settings, especially the default device name and password.
Switch off GPS and Location Services when Not in Use
Many apps use location access in the background even when not in use. For example, once you complete your trip with Uber, switch off location services. This is very important when using social media apps wherein criminals can reach you by tracking your location through these apps. You can also turn off location usage for mobile phone cameras to avoid geo-tagging.
Use Reliable GPS Devices
This is very important as plenty of GPS tracking devices are available in the market, and you can end up buying one that is unreliable with plenty of security loopholes. Cheap or unverified GPS devices can be easily compromised by hackers. Ensure that you purchase GPS devices from reputable manufacturers and avoid purchasing used GPS devices, as they might have been compromised.
For example, always buy a Thatcham-approved GPS tracker for your vehicles. Thatcham has been leading vehicle security, repair, and safety standards for over 50 years. Thatcham-approved GPS tracking devices ensure the highest level of security and protection for your vehicles against theft and other damages.
Ensure Regular Updates
GPS devices require software updates regularly to fix any security vulnerabilities. Always ensure that your GPS devices are up-to-date with the latest firmware updates, which will help protect against known security vulnerabilities. When connecting to the internet to download maps or update software, always use a virtual private network (VPN) to secure your connection. A VPN will encrypt your internet traffic, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or manipulate your GPS data.
Keep Everyone Protected
One more thing that users can do is ask GPS device providers about their tech development platform. Many companies now use threat modelling to determine potential vulnerabilities while developing the device and reduce security risks. This can help eliminate loopholes before the product is launched in the market. Practising a proactive security-first approach and safety-led tech innovations can ensure maximum peace of mind and safety.