Fitness app Strava exposes the location of military bases

Todd Singleton
January 30, 2018

"The rapid development of new and innovative information technologies enhances the quality of our lives but also poses potential challenges to operational security and force protection", the Coalition told The Washington Post.

It could also pose a danger for government officials posted in unsafe locations, like diplomats, who may not be in as secure locations as military personnel.

The concentration of activity at a base or along a patrol route could be used by insurgent groups to plan attacks on military personnel.

Strava is a neat fitness app that tracks your running and uses the data to create charts, graphs, and most interestingly for runners, a "heat map" that shows you the routes other runners take and how often they take them.

"It looks very pretty", Russer said of the data in a tweet, "but not wonderful for Op-Sec [operational security]".

Don't you hate it when you tell people how great you are and accidentally leak sensitive military information?

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While most of the traffic lights up high-profile workout areas such as New York's Central Park, Strava's map also illuminated remote areas of the Middle East that embarrassingly showed the outline of USA facilities not previously revealed to the public.

The global heatmap, which was published in November 2017, tracked 1 billion activities from September 2017, according to Strava. By using Strava in these secret military bases, the app just gave away their locations.

Ruser, who is reportedly studying global security at the Australian National University, told Australia's national broadcaster he has been following the situation in Syria since 2014. He even deleted his first tweet and later made a decision to repost it.

The security implication of the Global Heat Map, which was uploaded in November 2017, was publicized by 20-year-old Australian worldwide security student and Institute for United Conflict Analysts founding member Nathan Ruser. The freely-available heatmap, which can be accessed here, can zoom into any part of the world and detail the cycling or jogging routes of its users.

His tweets captured the attention of journalists. "But I hoped that someone who has the power to address it could fix it in some way".

In response to the reports, Strava said that the map excludes locations and activities users designate as private and that it's "committed to helping people better understand" its privacy rules, CNN reports. In maps of densely populated places like the United States where there are millions of users, practically the entire map is lit up to reflect the recorded data.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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