Strava’s heat map may reveal the location of secret military bases

January 29 15:52 2018

Strava released a brief statement highlighting that the data used had been anonymised, and “excludes activities that have been marked as private and user-defined privacy zones”.

Military experts have warned users at security bases to turn off their devices to avoid detection. “13 trillion Global Positioning System points from their users (turning off data sharing is an option)”.

The military base at Basra in Afghanistan stands out like a sore thumb on the heatmap. Plenty more were revealed by Ruser himself, such as a Russian and Turkish patrols near Khmeimim. However, Schneider said the data offers information to anyone wanting to attack U.S. troops in or around the bases.

It only emerged that Strava’s heatmap reveals sensitive information after a military analyst posted a series of tweets on Saturday that detailed the issue. It’s only when there’s a concentrated amount of activity in one area that it appears on the heat map and then all of the data is anonymized. It seems the Strava app was used by soldiers who use fitness devices such as Fitbit and Garmin while they were out and about jogging.

The heatmap “looks very pretty”, he wrote, but is “not fantastic for Op-Sec” – short for operational security.

A user who visits one secret military base, say a missile base, and then visits another location, may indicate that there’s another, previously secure, site of interest.

Military personnel in a base, for example, could use the roads within a base for running and cycling.

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

Twitter users have identified locations including a suspected Central Intelligence Agency base in Somalia, a Patriot missile defense system site in Yemen and USA special operations locations include a suspected Central Intelligence Agency base in Somalia, a Patriot missile defense system site in Yemen and U.S. special operations bases in the Sahel region of Africa. An Australian student used the service to reveal the locations and activities of soldiers at USA military bases. Anyone who gains access to Strava’s data, legally or otherwise, can then track that soldier’s movement, Jeffrey Lewis points out at the Daily Beast. “You can see a pattern of life”.

Apparently not realizing that less frequented locations for sports on the globe could result in some massively sensitive privacy leaks – largely as a effect of Strava opting users into the heatmaps (without them necessarily realizing it had, thanks to confusing settings).

You can select in the privacy settings that you want to automatically have your activities private by default.

A map of activity in Djibouti which has drawn comment from security analysts

Strava’s heat map may reveal the location of secret military bases
 
 
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