"Huge vulnerabilities" exist in networked personal health hardware, and manufacturers need to consider the ramifications of breaches as the devices grow more popular, one cybersecurity expert said Friday.
Miller Newton, CEO of security firm PKWARE, said the issues threaten vital machines like pacemakers and insulin, as well as fitness hardware. Popular health trackers include the Apple Watch and Fitbit.
"All of those devices are networked devices that stream critical and life-saving sensitive information in the cloud. That information is being streamed without being protected and that is really scary," Newton said on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
In a statement provided to CNBC, Fitbit said that the company "is committed to protecting consumer privacy and keeping data safe. The privacy and security of our users' data is a top priority and the trust of our customers is paramount."
PKWARE—which services about 30,000 enterprise customers for security and compression solutions—recently called connected devices one of the biggest future cybersecurity threats. The issue received more public scrutiny this week after researchers hacked into a Jeep's computer software, prompting a Fiat Chrysler recall.
Newton believes regulations surrounding networked devices will not reduce the threat. Rather, he said, companies that make the products need to take two crucial steps to cut risk.
"The smartwatch and wearable devices are a category that really does trouble me," Newton said.
Manufacturers need to design products so that health and other personal data can only be accessed by one person, Newton said. He added that they need to strengthen current encryption software in the devices.
Apple declined to comment.