Running app Polar Flow exposes locations of spies and military personnel

Polar’s fitness app made it dangerously easy to track soldiers and secret agents worldwide

Using Polar researchers were able to track personnel training on bases that host nuclear weapons, security personnel, embassies, military personnel, who specializiruetsya on carbazic, it, missile defense, intelligence, personnel working on submarines and underwater bases, employees of nuclear power plants.

The researchers who compiled the data drew up a list of roughly 6,500 users using the app to publicly store data, including soldiers in sensitive areas and NSA workers.

"By showing all the sessions of an individual combined onto a single map, Polar is not only revealing the heart rates, routes, dates, time, duration, and pace of exercises carried out by individuals at military sites, but also revealing the same information from what are likely their homes as well", explained Bellingcat. Tracing all of this information is very simple through the site: find a military base, select an exercise published there to identify the attached profile, and see where else this person has exercised. They can even link their Facebook accounts to it, which may make it easier for hackers to figure out habits, places they like to visit, even passwords, etc.

A Finnish company, Polar produces a number of smart devices, including the Polar Balance smart scale, the M600 smartwatch, and M430 running watch. However they also managed to uncover information that was not part of the affected users' public profiles. According to the investigation, the app's activity tracking map (named "Explore") exposed the home addresses of thousands of users, including soldiers and secret agents.

Here's a question for philosophers: If someone goes for a run without logging it in a fitness app, did they exercise? From there, hundreds of servicemen were identified by searching social media for their full names, which they chose to provide publicly on the Polar app.

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It is possible to locate military bases in the United States, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world by tracking individuals' shared exercise routines. In early 2017, as the Polar app freely tells us, he made a trip to the west-side of the USA and used a bike there. The program even shows where an individual has traveled since 2014 if they've tracked their exercise there, which, in some cases, can lead to finding out what hotels and local businesses they favor.

After apparently being notified about the report on its flaws, Polar announced on Friday it was "temporarily" shutting down the Explore API feature, used in Flow.

"It is important to understand that Polar has not leaked any data, and there has been no breach of private data", the statement reads.

"As a further additional precautionary measure, we made a decision to disable the Flow Explore view while we make some tweaks to it in order to maintain the high standards we set ourselves, when it comes to guaranteeing your privacy in its entirety".

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