Fitness Tracking App Found Exposing Secret US Military Locations Around The World

Fitness Tracking App Found Exposing Secret US Military Locations Around The World


Strava, the app for tracking physical activities such as running, swimming and cycling, can reveal sensitive military data as well.

Scott Lafoy, an open-source imagery analyst, told CNN it's too early to truly assess how useful the data is.

The heatmap included a total of one billion global activity data points made public by Strava user's through September 2017.

Cybersecurity and privacy researcher John Scott-Railton wrote in a blog post that in just an hour he was able to "identify several covert and non-declared operating bases, diplomatic outposts, and possible intelligence facilities in several ongoing conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East".

The information could be used to plan attacks on soldiers, as it shows where they are likely to be, and essentially maps out their supply routes. Strava is being actively being used by military personnel in confidential areas allowing data about top-secret military locations to be discovered.

In a statement, it says: "Our global heatmap represents an aggregated and anonymised view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform".

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"Whether you are concerned about someone knowing where you are, where you ran or where you live, we've got the tools to help you take control", the company said. 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. Worryingly that also includes secret military bases. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route.

Similarly in Syria, areas that appear to be bases in the north, where U.S. troops are aiding local partners in the fight against the Islamic State group, are lit up brightly against an otherwise dark background.

"They probably should have had the foresight to look at the map before they released it, but the app has a policy where you can opt out of data sharing, and that hasn't been done by the soldiers", he said.

Strava uses satellite information to map out the locations and movements of its users to the fitness service over two years. "You can establish a pattern of life", he said. Central Command has said they are looking into the matter.

Other easily identifiable bases include those used by the USA in Syria and Iraq, a UK RAF base in the Falklands, and one used by French forces in Niger.

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.

  • Kyle Warner