US Soldiers Accidentally Reveal Secret Bases With Jogging App

A screenshot of the Strava heat map which the company said comprised one billion recorded activities on its platform. Strava

According to an article in The Daily Beast, the fitness-tracker app exposes security flaw at Taiwan's missile command centre.

However, a global "heatmap" of fitness data published by Strava has fueled worries that service members are sharing data about their movements, particularly in risky locations such as Afghanistan and Syria.

Manning said he was not aware of any request to Strava to take down its map. The UK's security services must be hyper-aware of what they're sharing - regardless of what may be labelled as "excluded" within the device.

Although military base locations are well-known, popular routes taken by soldiers - inside and outside of military bases - can be discovered.

Unfortunately, by celebrating this fact, they unwittingly shared the exercise patterns and specific routes chosen by U.S. military personnel in states, including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The heat map is not just a US military problem. According to Russer, the map can be used to figure out known military bases.

If anyone were to hack Strava, he said, they might be able to connect a particular user with a particular route. The user theorized that some of the tracks could be regular jogging routes for soldiers. In countries like Niger, the heatmap highlights the activity of United States soldiers on military bases keeping fit.

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.

In most cases, the public data can be useful.

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

As for the researcher who exposed the security concern, Ruser tells the Sydney Morning Herald, "I'm surprised at how much mainstream attention the map has gotten".

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

The heatmap is built up from a billion activities and three trillion pieces of location data, and it reveals the location of bases in the US, Syria, Australia and numerous other countries.

The settings available in Strava's app also allow users to explicitly opt out of data collection for the heatmap - even for activities not marked as private - or to set up "privacy zones" in certain locations. "I expected it to languish in wonk circles and open source circles until the US government quietly fixed the problem, but instead it seems to have blown up a lot more than I would have thought".

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