Royal Navy staff releasing sensitive Trident nuclear submarine details on fitness app

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The officers at the Royal Navy base in Faslane may have inadvertently leaked their names, addresses and even when they were aboard nuclear submarines through the popular fitness app Strava, according to reporting done by The Times. The app, which has 95 million users worldwide, allows users to publicly share data about their runs, cycles or swims.

Defence personnel stationed at Faslane, northwest of Glasgow, have uploaded public data including their names, addresses and the times they were on base, according to The Times.

The UK’s nuclear deterrent, Trident, is located at Faslane.

This is not the first time soldiers may have inadvertently shared potentially sensitive data through the app.

In 2018, a feature which showed the most popular running routes was found to be revealing the location of US bases in the Middle East.

Images of the runs of US soldiers appeared to show near exact outlines of bases in Afghanistan and Syria as soldiers ran around the perimeter of the bases.

The “heatmaps” showed running routes throughout the world, however they also incidentally it showed military bases where soldiers had been running and sharing their data.

Strava users can elect to have a private profile but still appear in public speed rankings for the area, which may suggest that the officers may not realise their identity has been made public.

The app has a feature which allows a user to create “segments” which are public running routes. Once these “segments” are created, it is possible to see who is running along them.

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In June, an unknown operative created fake segments at an Israeli military base which allowed the user to see who was running there and even track their movements elsewhere.

According to The Times, there are several segments at Faslane which appear to have been created by individuals who are permitted to access the base.

There have long been concerns about fitness apps and devices inadvertently leaking personal and location data.

The Royal Navy has warned personnel about posting information online that “could be of use to the enemy”.

On its social media advice page, it said: “Whether you are serving personnel, their friends or family, it’s important that you avoid posting any information online that might compromise an operation or put personnel in danger, including photos or videos.

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“What does that include? Basically, anything that may be of use to an enemy – from plans, locations and schedules, to technical information, equipment status and event unit morale.”

However, by examining Strava segments, The Times was able to find the names and previous postings of some personnel. Two users even posted GPS logs of what appeared to be runs aboard ships.

Such data precise location data could be potentially dangerous if enemy operatives were able to pinpoint the exact location of a ship or other sensitive military sites.

A Royal Navy spokesperson told “We take the security of our team very seriously, which is why we regularly advise our personnel on the use of apps and social media websites.

“This includes turning off geo-tagging on devices to prevent their location from being revealed whilst exercising.”

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