Early Dismissals & School Closings

FOX43 Finds Out: Fitness tracker tracking you

MANHEIM, Pa -- The Strava app recently made headlines for disclosing the locations of military members, but what does that mean for the average Joe?

Darrell Snader of Manheim, Lancaster county uses the Strava app when he rides his bike.

The app works on GPS to track time, miles and calories burned.

Strava recently received some backlash after a heat map of its apps users locations was discovered.

That map may have disclosed information of military members who were using the app to workout in undisclosed locations.

At first, the heat map just revealed where activity was happening.

Alan Fledman, a cybersecurity expert at Virtual October, says some other experts were able to track down even more information.

He said, "They did find out a way to find the individual specifically at that location, with the Strava fitness tracker, their identity, who they are, what country they're from. It just keeps going deeper, deeper and deeper and that's where the concern is."

How were people able to dig so deep?

Feldman says it's because of one of the features of the Strava app allows you to see what other Strava users are doing and where they're located. "People who didn't even have a Strava fitness ban were able to gain access to that data by reverse hacking GPS coordinates and all kinds of other systems."

Which could be a concern to some people who may not want all of that information in the wrong hands.

If also had the average person wondering if this could mean an ex-boyfriend could find your location or even if you take a sick day, could your boss be able to track down where you really are?

"If your boss would jump through some crazy amount of technical hoops and GPS spoofing and other hacker-like applications? Yeah, he probably could. It's not easy," said Feldman.

Strava is aware of the issue  and the CEO posted a letter to its users.

It reads in part "We are committed to working with military and government officials to address potentially sensitive data
We are reviewing features that were originally designed for athlete motivation and inspiration to ensure they cannot be compromised by people with bad intent. We continue to increase awareness of our privacy and safety tools."

As for Snader, he's not concerned about what app the information may be sharing.

He said, "I mean I know it`s out there, but I`ve got nothing to hide."

For people who use Strava or another fitness app, here's what you should do to protect your privacy:

I know we usually just hit accept, but you really want to know what information is being shared and who can see it.

Opt out, apps like Strava automatically share your activity with other users that can be viewer.

Most of the time you can shut that off.

Also, turn off location services, just be aware the product may not work as intended if you shut location services off.

Things like a Fitbit can still track your steps without having your location services on.

In the Fitbit case, the actual tracker and your phone app may not sync up for you to track sleeping and things like that if you do choose to shut off location services.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, send her a message on Facebook or shoot her an email at FOX43findsout@fox43.com.