Fitness app connected to a Smart Watch

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Advice for RAF personnel on how to use fitness apps safely and securely.

Fitness and health app usage

In the RAF, fitness and a healthy lifestyle are very important to serving personnel, support staff and families alike. Most will have a fitness or health app they use regularly, and many will be connected to Smart devices, to track calorie intake, activity and sleep patterns.

Fitness app safety and security risks

Most fitness apps will use location data to record what activity you did and where you did it, this can then be shared with others to track progress and partake in virtual competitions.

Even when you where a device and are not exercising your location is still being recorded, which poses a risk – if the website/app, your device or the
communication between the two is hacked, it’s possible for your and colleagues’ location to be revealed, potentially compromising personal and unit safety. It’s been found that a high proportion of both paid-for and free apps contain security vulnerabilities.

Another risk is to your health or medical data. Many apps lack suitable privacy policies, which means that both the details you enter and data gathered by the app could be (and frequently are) sold on to pharmaceutical and insurance companies, even potentially falling into the hands of fraudsters and adversaries.

How to use fitness apps safely and securely

Get Safe Online: How to use fitness apps safely and securely

The Air Cyber and Information Services Operation Centre and getsafeonline.org have created a ‘do’s and don’ts’ for using fitness and health apps safely, specifically for RAF personnel and their families. Download the Get Safe Online: Fitness and health apps guide here.

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