Beer Networking App Being Used to Track Military and CIA
Untappd – Offers More Than Just Networking
Cristal M Clark
Does everyone remember when news broke about the fitness app Strava, when it was revealed to be tracking and exposing U.S. military bases worldwide? Well another app seems to be doing pretty much the same thing. Untapped it would seem has been tracking check-ins at some rather interesting places – the Pentagon, Germany, and Greenland, it was also found to be tracking US Military, CIA including at a top secret CIA facility.
Untappd has 8 million users, including those in armed forces and intelligence agencies worldwide, the biggest following from the US and Europe. The app is used by beer drinkers to discover new bars, breweries, and beers. Users can rate beers, unlock badges, get directions to local events, and most importantly share that information with others.
Researchers with the group Bellingcat also discovered shared photos that included shots of government ID cards, documents, and military hardware which could be used to reconstruct the travel and work habits of military and intelligence personnel, including precise location capabilities.
The downside of any app that tracks you, be it fitness or beer users more often than not share too much information, and then the apps share too much about said users.
Researcher Foeke Postma was able to show how one individual utilizing the app shared a photo of a beer that Foeke Postma was able to use and geolocate it to a specific building at Camp Peary, pinpointing the exact location it was taken. Foeke also tracked the individual to Camp Peary, Virginia. Nicknamed “The Farm,” Camp Peary is a CIA facility used for field training and allegedly as a hub in the transport of suspected terrorists in case you were wondering.
Check-in’s seemed to fascinate the researchers because if this data fell into the wrong hands, because an intelligence agency could, you know, locate bars frequented by service members near military bases, or secret CIA facilities, maybe find out what the most popular beer there and then…of course, send spies to ingratiate as fellow beer lovers with those personnel, ordering their favorite beer and of course hopefully getting someone to spill secrets.
I’ve said this before though apps like this one and any other including social media serve as a collection point for intelligence agencies and hackers who are seeking valuable information. Social networks collect more information than users are often aware of, and that data can be used by third parties as well as compromised.
We do like our apps that track our fitness, where we post something from, our beer likes and dislikes and those apps do tend to overshare our information in unimaginable ways sometimes.
Cristal M Clark