How a Fitness Tracking App Exposed US Military Secrets

Image Strava

THE top-secret locations of USA army bases have mistakenly been revealed by a fitness tracking company.

Strava is a fitness app that allows users to map their jogging routes, and recently it released a heatmap of where people are getting their fat-burn on around the world-secret military bases included.

"Imagine how many similar data sources are out there we're ignorant of (because) it's not posted online", he wrote on Twitter.

Since 2015, Strava has published a global heat map detailing the activity of its 27 million global users, based on their uploaded GPS data.

Ruser, who is studying global security and Middle Eastern studies at Australian National University, said he noticed the fitness activity "pretty much the second I scrolled over Syria". According to one UCA analyst, the heat map in the app could result in finding out military bases and the routines of their personnel.

Despite its release a few months ago, it was only discovered over the weekend that the app could risky as the global heatmap was illuminating military bases around the world, which are in otherwise remote locations. "We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share", Strava told the Washington Post in a statement.

In response to the security breach row, Strava has told users they can upgrade their privacy settings to avoid sharing data about their location. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route.

The heatmaps show a relatively clear structure of various foreign military bases located around the world. However, some top secret military bases may have been compromised when the map exposed movement at military bases.

Air Force Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told the The Washington Post that the United States military is looking into the issue. This is bad news for security, as it establishes reliable "pattern of life" information that would otherwise be unavailable to the rest of the world. Central Command has said they are looking into the matter.

The company said in a statement the information had already been made public when the user chose to upload it, and that the map did not including data from user-defined privacy zones.

Tobias Schneider, a security analyst who was among the group of people who highlighted the military bases shown on the map, noted that it shows military sites in Syria and Iraq as well as the Madama base used by French forces in Niger. "Recent data releases emphasize the need for situational awareness when members of the military share personal information", said Pentagon spokeswoman Harris.



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