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Gutter Monkey 29 January 2018 03:39 AM

Aussie student uses fitness app to discover secret US army bases

Australian learns how Strava heat map reveals dangerous information from jogging US soldiers

Beirut: An interactive map posted on the internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the location and activities of soldiers at US military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.

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

The US military did not respond to a question about what the regulations are regarding the use of fitness tracking apps. But the Pentagon has encouraged the use of Fitbits among military personnel and, in 2013, distributed 2500 of them as part of a pilot program to battle obesity.

Psihala 29 January 2018 05:30 AM

We can spend umpteen millions on military applications, but apparently can't handle the ones we get off the shelf.

(*"Oh, good! My slow-clap processor made it into this thing!")

Meka 29 January 2018 11:36 AM

I am not in the military, nor do I hang out at top secret bases, but I am somewhat familiar with Strava. From that perspective* I can say that there are privacy settings in the app that let you hide workouts from being seen by others. The question that springs to mind for me is whether this is more an indication of a whole lot of people forgetting to turn said features on, or whether Strava assumed that incorporating "private" workouts in its public heat maps was okay as long as the data was anonymized.

* i.e.: preventing the sort of casual snooping that led to this discovery. I'm not about to speculate on the advisability of wearing a potentially hackable GPS tracker in a location you don't want made public.

UEL 29 January 2018 06:53 PM

I like the fact that I've been to both places pictured in the article.

Kandahar is less of a concern for me because the entire heat map is inside the secure area. Add to that the fact that running soldiers are visible to anyone who looks into the camp, and it is less of an issue.

Beirut on the other hand... it is known for kidnappings. None of the areas highlighted are secure, although some go by secure areas.

On an aside, I don't know if it is all runners. Gamayzeh Street and Hamra Street (two areas famous for its pub and restaurant sections) are well represented. :lol:

And the hottest part of the Beirut heat map is absolutely a runners area (around the coastline). It is sometimes a matter of taking one's life into one's hands just being a pedestrian there. :eek:

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