US Soldiers Accidentally Reveal Secret Bases With Jogging App

Laverne Mann
January 30, 2018

Checking defaults is key.

Strava, a fitness tracker app that is used in devices by Fitbit and Jawbone, may have just revealed to the world the locations of secret USA military bases and facilities.

If anyone were to hack Strava, he said, they might be able to connect a particular user with a particular route.

Over the weekend a company called Strava, a social network for athletes, which mapped out the routes of 1 billion workouts in 2017.

That's because Strava published a heat map that shows the recorded activity of millions of users around the world, complete with data that might identify key army secrets.

Beyond pinpointing military base locations, which are typically well-known, the problem with Strava's heatmap is that it possibly reveals more personalized details about military personnel's movements - information that could compromise operational security. The military has given away Fitbits, which are compatible with Strava, to members in the past to help them get in shape. When zoomed in, those lighted areas show the locations and outlines of USA military bases, including ones that have not been made public. Here are five more ways in which you may have agreed to be tracked.

According to Strava's privacy policy, depending on how accounts were set up, information and content may be accessible to the public.

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You can search for familiar and secret places on the heat map here. The smartphone app is compatible with wearables like Fitbit.

Some users have used the route tracking feature in other ways - to create works of art.

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

The app is far more popular in the West than elsewhere - which means foreign military bases stand out as isolated "hotspots" in the Middle East.

Strava produces the Global Positioning System technology found in many devices like Fitbits and smartphones.

Hackers or state actors could use the information to find bases.

"Recent data releases emphasize the need for situational awareness when members of the military share personal information", Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway of the U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement about the implications of the Strava data that has made worldwide headlines. It goes on to suggest that military users might want to consider opting out of the heatmap feature of the iOS and Android app. In some cases, apps will track your location whether the app is in use or not, while others only use location when you have the app open. "Defense employees are regularly informed about the use and dangers of apps such as Strava", Bezuijen said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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