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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Polar Fitness Data Exposes Homes of Soldiers and Intelligence Agents

Strava isn’t the only fitness tech company grappling with the security implications of its fitness trackingBellingcat and De Correspondent have discovered that Polar’s Flow social platform can reveal the homes of soldiers and intelligence officials with little effort. As it shows all of a given person’s published workouts on one map, you only have to find a sensitive installation (such as a military base or spy agency), pick someone who uses a Polar fitness tracker and then see if they have any workouts that end at a residence. Many of these people use their real names and tend to end workouts in front of their homes or hotels, making it easy to correlate their fitness info with social network profiles and other telltale data.

The researchers said they compiled a list of roughly 6,500 users, including soldiers in volatile areas (such as Baghdad or the Korean DMZ), NSA workers and the CEO of a manufacturing firm. It’s easy to understand the security risks based on that list — terrorists could use this to attack or kidnap high-profile targets at their most vulnerable.

To its credit, Polar has already responded to the concerns. It temporarily suspended Flow’s “explore” functionality and has been developing methods for keeping privacy under control, such as an option to clear your entire workout history at once.

Read more from Engadget

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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