Fitness app reveals movements on military bases

Fitness app reveals movements on military bases

Fitness app reveals movements on military bases

A secretive special air service base has been inadvertently revealed by a fitness app that has created a heatmap of running routes around the country.

The Global Heatmap was released at the beginning of November, at which time its creators were boasting that it was the "largest, richest, and most lovely dataset of its kind" (a sentiment enemies of the USA will definitely agree with).

Toler and other experts are also warning against assuming that any fitness-trackers being used in remote and/or contested areas are military - rather than a civilian or relief - operation. According to the app maker, the heatmap relies on public data. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route. The heatmap includes around 3 trillion Global Positioning System data points sourced from users' device.

According to the article, the Global Heat Map, published by Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and movements of subscribers to the company's fitness service over a two-year period, by illuminating areas of activity.

Although that may well be true, it appears that USA personnel may not have got the message that they can make their data private. To date, its logged more than 1 billion activities and 13 trillion data points.

Ruser said: "If you ask me, I don't expect the map will be online for that much longer".

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In a post about the update in November, Strava said the update would include "six times more data than before - in total one billion activities from all Strava data through September 2017".

The heatmap also appears to highlight RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands and a base used by French soliders in Niger. This has raised security concerns about personnel at USA military bases around the world.

It's unlikely the vulnerabilities are limited to just US military bases, although fortunately, you can shut off data sharing in the app, something the company quickly recommended military personnel do.

But the data also offers a mine of information to anyone who wanted to attack or ambush USA troops, said Schneider.

The app reportedly has an option to turn off tracking, but it appears that many users, including military personnel, have failed to do so. It's one thing to try to discern any viable information from a heat map of the U.S. or Europe, and quite a different thing to discover potential bases in war zones.

In an interview with the BBC, Ruser explained that he discovered the security vulnerability last week: "I just looked at it and thought, oh hell, this should not be here - this is not good". "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.

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