The commander, who works as a government bodyguard, inadvertently disclosed the location of intelligence services and secret diplomatic trips
The United States experienced the same scandal in 2018 when a map of the Strava ‘fitness’ application identified secret military bases and members of the army
All countries in the world protect themselves to prevent theft or purchase of data to expose your National security. However, sometimes those state secrets they are unintentionally exposed. That is what has happened in Israel with a high official who, without thinking about its potential consequences, publicly shared in the social networks the routes you follow when you go out to to run o en bike.
As one uncovers Haaretz newspaper investigation, It’s about a lieutenant colonel in the security unit of very important people of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence service. This senior commander, whom he only identifies with the initial A., has worked for years as bodyguard of members of the Israeli government, among whom would be the current prime minister, the ultraconservative Naphtali Bennett, and its predecessor, Benjamin netanyahu, which makes his carelessness even more serious.
A. is passionate about sports and has participated up to three times in the Ironman, a 226.06 kilometer triathlon on foot, by bike and swimming. Many mornings he goes out for a run and when he returns he shares his itineraries and schedules, registered in the application the fitness’ Diet, on social media. Although the bodyguard does not use his full name in the app, the shared data is public, which has allowed Haaretz to identify him “in five seconds”.
The publication of these data is dangerous, because with its routes of ‘running‘The colonel has documented on several occasions where exactly the Shin Bet headquarters is, but also uncovered that he went for a run even when the prime minister’s circle should be quarantining after being exposed to a positive person in covid-19. The Haaretz also notes that, by sharing their itineraries, they would have revealed secret international travel of senior members of the Government. Data published on the Strava app reveals that A. accompanied Netanyahu on diplomatic trips to Moscow and Warsaw in 2018 and 2019.
Risk in other countries
This is not the first time that the sharing of ‘running’ routes on Strava has put a country on alert. In 2018 the application published a detailed heat map with the more than 1 billion routes that its users followed. After analyzing it surgically, several analysts uncovered that the use of the app by military personnel in U.S was serving to announce the location of secret army bases. By crossing that information with other public databases, they could even identify the military and track them.
Strava released their global heatmap. 13 trillion GPS points from their users (turning off data sharing is an option). https://t.co/hA6jcxfBQI … It looks very pretty, but not amazing for Op-Sec. US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable pic.twitter.com/rBgGnOzasq
– Nathan Ruser (@ Nrg8000) January 27, 2018
The scandal emerged after Nathan Ruser, an Australian international security student, posted on Twitter how routes made it easy to spot military bases in USA in Afghanistan, Turkish checkpoints in Syria and other highly sensitive strategic enclaves. Strava responded by adding the feature that the user can exclude its appearance in those heat maps. However, the application continues to extract and store all that information, whether you work for the Government or not.