Security audit backs up MGM Wireless’ SPACEWALK smart watch for kids

MGM Wireless ASX MWR Spacetalk AllMyTribe smart watch
MGM Wireless' SPACETALK children’s GPS smart watch phone.

MGM Wireless Limited (ASX: MWR) has put its SPACETALK GPS smartphone watch under the microscope to cast doubts aside following a recent European report identifying serious security flaws in GPS watches designed for children.

In October last year, the Norwegian Consumer Council lodged a formal complaint concerning four GPS-enabled watches for children. The council claimed the devices had serious security and privacy flaws, where strangers could easily seize control of the watches and use them to track and eavesdrop on children.

None of the watches in question were MGM’s products, however the child and school-focused technology designer decided to commission an in-depth review of its SPACETALK watch, as well as the All My Tribe ecosystem – the division of the company that developed the watch.

The independent review was conducted by cyber security expert Dr Matthew Sorell, who was appointed last year as an academic member of the Interpol Digital Forensics Expert Group, specialising in wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness devices.

According to Dr Sorell’s findings, the technical security of the SPACETALK watch and All My Tribe ecosystem is “implemented well and is appropriate for purpose”.

The review also concluded that the All My Tribe division uses best practice identity authentication, as well as security for authenticated and encrypted communications between subsystems.

Most importantly, Dr Sorell concluded “that the SPACETALK watch and ecosystem do not exhibit any of the technical weaknesses identified and investigated in the Norwegian review of similar devices”.

According to Dr Sorell, a child’s smartwatch should ensure the rights to privacy and self-determination of children are balanced with the responsibilities of their parents. This includes emergency response and ensuring well-informed consent to track the child is given.

While warning that no IT system is entirely immune to an attacker, he commended MGM for its commitment to well-engineered security solutions and ongoing security development.

In the audit, Dr Sorell also recommended development improvements to avoid opportunistic threats in the future. His suggestions included ongoing responses to the changing security threat landscape as well as product safety enhancements.

MGM’s SPACETALK watch works like a smartphone with a restricted list of people the child can call or receive calls from, GPS tracking and alerts parents when children leave designated safe spaces such as school or the home.

MGM co-founder and chief executive Mark Fortunatow said technology providers had a duty of care to ensure their products were safe and secure, and was delighted to have validation of the company’s strategy to maintain the most stringent security practices.

“We believe that as a supplier of technology for children and families, we have moral and social responsibilities that transcend commercial issues alone,” he said.

MGM Wireless shares rose almost 8% to $1.07 on the news but dropped slightly by afternoon trade to $1.04, a 5% increase.