Strava user heatmap reveals patterns of life in western military bases

by Linda Olson January 30, 2018, 0:58
Strava user heatmap reveals patterns of life in western military bases

Zooming in on those brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites - presumably because soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

Fitness tracking app Strava, which dubs itself as "the social network for athletes", could be posing a risk to national security around the world. According to an article in The Daily Beast, the fitness-tracker app exposes security flaw at Taiwan's missile command centre.

"Strava released their global heatmap", wrote Ruser.

The location of military bases is generally well-known, both from local knowledge and pre-existing satellite imaging tools like Google Earth. Many people on social media and other online forums are working on combining rumors, known information, and the Strata activity map to locate possible Central Intelligence Agency facilities and the like, according to the newspaper. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route.

It appears to show the structure of foreign military bases in countries including Syria and Afghanistan, as soldiers move around inside.

Military personal who used the fitness app Strava have unwittingly contributed to revealing the location of secret army bases around the world.

Strava has urged it's users to check privacy settings and reaffirmed that data shared on heatmap is only that which has been made publicly available by users. In most cases, the apps or devices keep tabs on basic health information such as steps taken, heart rate, or sleep.

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"That needs to be communicated much better from higher-ranking officials to the people that are actually doing the runs and taking their afternoon jogs around the base", he said.

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

The app, which maps people's exercise habits via GPS and enables them to share their running routes, published an updated version of its global heatmap back in November.

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

People also found a UK RAF base in the Falklands and French forces in Niger. The company said it has tens of millions of users.

A military base in Helmand, Afghanistan, as seen on Strava.

In a statement to The Verge, Strave said "the map is an aggregated and anonymised view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform".

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