A popular smartwatch designed exclusively for children contains an undocumented backdoor that makes it possible for someone to remotely capture camera snapshots, wiretap voice calls, and track locations in real time, a researcher said. The X4 smartwatch is marketed by Xplora, a Norway-based seller of children’s watches. The device, which sells for about $200, runs on Android and offers a range of capabilities
It turns out that the X4 contains something else: a backdoor that went undiscovered until some impressive digital sleuthing. The backdoor is activated by sending an encrypted text message. Harrison Sand, a researcher at Norwegian security company Mnemonic, said that commands exist for surreptitiously reporting the watch’s real-time location, taking a snapshot and sending it to an Xplora server, and making a phone call that transmits all sounds within earshot.
Sand also found that 19 of the apps that come pre-installed on the watch are developed by Qihoo 360, a security company and app maker located in China. A Qihoo 360 subsidiary, 360 Kids Guard, also jointly designed the X4 with Xplora and manufactures the watch hardware.