Busting a move: Fitness app Strava 'reveals location' of US soldiers worldwide

Busting a move: Fitness app Strava 'reveals location' of US soldiers worldwide
Hardly anyone other than US military personnel use the fitness tracking app in combat areas in Syria and Iraq.
2 min read
29 January, 2018
US Marines during a training session [Getty]

An online interactive map of fitness app users can reveal the locations of US soldiers and military bases in conflict areas, raising new security concerns.

The Global Heat Map, published by the GPS tracking firm Strava, uses satellite information to track the movement of its 27 million subscribers, according to a Washington Post report.

The map, which was released in November 2017, shows every data point uploaded to Strava.

Military analysts say the map is detailed enough to give away information about military personnel using the app.

The heatmap “looks very pretty,” tweeted Nathan Ruser, an analyst with the Institute for United Conflict Analysts. But it is “not amazing for Op-Sec. US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable”.

While the map shows much activity in the US and Europe, in war zones in Iraq and Syria the map is almost entirely dark – except for scattered military activity.

Experts say a close look at the map reveals well-known military bases, as well as potentially sensitive sites – potentially because American soldiers are using the fitness tracking app as they move around.

The data could in theory be used to plot attacks or ambushes against US troops. Military officials told AP they are studying the issue.

“DoD [Department of Defence] takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required,” said Maj. Audricia Harris, a spokeswoman.