Cybersecurity Blog

Fitness app exposes your location – 07/19/18


The fitness app Polar Beat allows you plan your workouts, map out and track your workout, analyze how you did and then share your success with friends. The app has sister application on the web called Polar Flow.  You create one account and get access to two services.

Sharper readers will get that the tracking and sharing your workout idea might not be the best one when it comes to protecting personal safety or privacy.  Thankfully the company offers its users the option of enabling private mode so they can keep their location information private.  At least that is what was thought, then researchers started to poke around.

They found that by accessing the API they could get location and tracking information on anyone with an account, even if they had set that account to private.  This is especially concerning because the researchers decided to see if they could locate foreign intelligence  officers and nuclear storage facilities staff.  They could.  As the app had tracked all their activities, once the researchers found their place of work, it was pretty easy to find their home location as well.  Let that sink in for a minute.

Unfortunately this is not the first time a fitness tracking app has made information public that people probably want made private.  As handy as it is to have your fitness tracker tell you how many calories you burned and how far you have run, you might want to reconsider using a tool that purposely tracks your location.  You never know who might be able to get a hold of the data.

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