Security Risks to Military Operations posed by Online Fitness Tracking Devices

  • Khalifa Saad

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis attempts to assess the extent to which data collected by online fitness tracking applications such as Strava and Fitbit pose a security risk to military operations in remote, underpopulated, and relatively less-developed regions/locations. By using a combination of academic, peer-reviewed sources along with primary research data collected from a variety of sources, the thesis assembles a picture of the current state of security of personal fitness devices and applications. It demonstrates serious lapses of military operations security and force protection by military personnel around the world when using personal tracking fitness devices and applications. Furthermore, this thesis finds that military personnel from relatively advanced and wealth states are most likely to use online fitness tracking devices and then inadvertently disseminate private and/or sensitive information regarding their whereabouts through them. This information may be used by enemies to attack military troops or for other intelligence objectives further down the road, particularly in theatres where local populations and militaries do not have access to such devices. This is particularly the case in remote, underpopulated, and relatively less-developed regions locations, such as the Sahel Region in Africa, parts of Yemen as well as in certain locales in war zones such as Syria. The thesis concludes by highlighting relevant and useful findings for military personnel, to include UAE military officials, in numerous states as well as avenues for further academic studies on the topic. Relatedly, it also provides analysis of the future of security, particularly military security, in relation to these gadgets and how to rectify and proactively deal with the threats they pose.
Date of AwardDec 2018
Original languageAmerican English


  • Strava
  • Military Operations
  • Strava HeatMap
  • strategy
  • intelligence
  • security
  • risk

Cite this