Criminals can use fitness apps to track your daily routines, personal information, experts say

Consumer

(WTNH) — People use mobile health apps for all kinds of things but that convenience may come at a cost: their privacy.

A cyber forensic team at the University of New Haven discovered that criminals are able to track a person’s daily routine or gain access to their personal information.

How exactly does that work?

Well, when the user tracks a run, walk, workout, or any physical activity, that information becomes public to view.

A criminal, or any person really, can then take that data and uses it to track the user on the internet or social media.

From there, they can gain information into a person’s daily routine, interests, and other private information — like a home address.

Based on information just obtained by the app, News 8, along with the cybersecurity department at UNH, was able to see the path a Fairfield man uses to walk his dog and when a local mother of three leaves for her morning run each day of the week.

Criminals are able to keep track of these patterns and use them to plot their attacks.

“Maybe they don’t want to murder you but they want to steal something from your house,” said Ibrahim Baggili, UNH associate professor of computers science. “They know exactly when you leave, exactly when you come home.”

While this information may be startling, Baggili said that doesn’t mean people have to stop using these apps.

“If there are options to make your data private, make sure that you choose those options,” he said.

He also said people should take a look at what information they make public and post on social media.

“Maybe you should just really consider that you’re really sharing more things that you want to,” Baggili said.

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