British SAS operators personal details exposed online

The personal data of the British SAS operators were disclosed online via the publicly available fitness application. It’s hard to stay anonymous in the internet world, but it’s even worse when you have social accounts. Although they thought they were safe, elite SAS soldiers have revealed their secret identities in a fitness app used by 50 million people, the Sun reported.

The British SOF – widely regarded as one of the best special forces in the world – is entitled to lifelong anonymity because of the dangerous secret missions they undertake.

SAS operator allegedly filmed in Syria (Photo: Pinterest)

However, a sudden moment of negligence contributed to the SAS operators’ personal identities and details being disclosed publicly. Your names and personal information were discovered on Strava – used by fitness fanatics worldwide.

Russian military intelligence agents are also believed to have collected their information, the Sun reported.

From investigative website Bellingcat, Nick Waters tricked Strava into providing personal information about troops operating at the SAS ‘top secret base in Hereford.

Identified within minutes

After inventing a fictional run in the camp, he used the app to identify 14 SAS troops – in just five minutes. He also claimed that the app gave him the identified people’s Facebook profiles. Stunned by the revelation, he revealed to horrified senior officers at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst the security failure.

“I came up with my own training session and convinced Strava that I ran a certain distance within a certain time within the base,” recalls the former army infantry officer.

Special Air Service - SAS operators pose with their weaponsThe Special Air Service (SAS) is a special unit of the British Army. (Photo: XY)

“The app then started giving me the names and Facebook profiles of people who had actually walked the same route. I freaked out a bit because I knew this was the type of information I probably shouldn’t have access to – so I turned it off. “

I started freaking out a bit knowing this was the kind of information I probably shouldn’t have access to – so I turned it off – Nick Waters.

The Bellingcat website is best known for identifying the two prime suspects in Sergei Skripal’s Novichok poisoning in Salisbury in 2018. With his basic knowledge of computer programming, Waters was able to bypass Strava’s security settings.

Shocking revelation

After tearing down the security wall, he was stunned to see the profiles of soldiers who had taken steps to ensure their run times on Strava remained anonymous. And after uploading three lines of code to the app, he was able to invent a run and make-up time.

The screen of his laptop then filled with the names and faces of people – presumably SAS employees – walking the same route.

Waters concluded, “It shows that social media is an effective monitoring tool and that anyone can use it to access personal data.”

Following the shocking revelation, the Department of Defense said it took the security of individuals online “very seriously.”

And a Strava spokesperson said they have the safety and privacy of their users as their “top priority”.

They affirmed: “We have long had a number of privacy tools that give members control over what they share. Over the past two years we’ve improved these self-service features to make them even easier and more transparent. We encourage members of the armed forces around the world who use Strava to follow the guidelines of their military branch. “

It was only two years ago that SAS troops came under fire after posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

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