As weird, mysterious smart watches arrive at Soldiers’ doors unsolicited, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) warns about the program sending these things out with potentioally dubious purposes.
CID suspects that these smart watches could be part of a deliberate scheme orchestrated by malicious individuals who are targeting troops to gain unauthorized access to their personal information. The exact scale of the issue is not yet known, the CID’s decision to issue a military-wide alert indicates that this program has affected a significant number of individuals and services. What is particularly concerning is that these smartwatches automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks and users’ smartphones immediately after activation, without requiring any input or permission. (Eh-hem… Skynet)
The CID is currently investigating the potential involvement of criminals, terrorists, or foreign entities hostile to the United States in this suspicious smartwatch program. Another motive under consideration is a tactic called “brushing,” where companies send counterfeit products to individuals with the intention of receiving positive online reviews.
Joseph Corsi, a former Army member and the chief security officer for Foundry, a company affiliated with Digital Currency Group, emphasized the importance of exercising caution when connecting personal devices to sources that are unknown or unverified. Corsi pointed out the associated risks of connecting to Wi-Fi networks that may be malicious and the potential dangers of pairing devices whose authenticity cannot be confirmed, citing previous incidents like finding USB devices in parking lots.
It is noteworthy that these dubious smartwatches have emerged at a time when the military is actively exploring how to incorporate smart and wearable technology into the professional lives of service members. These devices present opportunities for monitoring health, and fitness levels and assisting in training and goal-setting.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the military has gained valuable knowledge on how to integrate wearable devices into readiness. One notable program is the Defense Innovation Unit’s Rapid Assessment of Threat Exposure (RATE), which aims to track the health of service members and predict and monitor potentially dangerous infections. In May, the program secured $10 million in funding. Additionally, the Space Force is currently in the process of implementing a program that utilizes wearable fitness devices, including smartwatches, to evaluate the progress of its personnel.
In light of this concerning development, experts urge service members to exercise caution and skepticism when faced with unexpected or unsolicited equipment. If a device seems too good to be true, it is advisable to discard it and seek confirmation from trusted sources before proceeding.