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Cybersecurity Professor Warns of Fitness App Dangers
Although fitness apps can enable users to live healthier lives, Ibrahim "Abe" Baggili, the University of New Haven’s Elder Family Endowed Chair of Computer Science and Cybersecurity, warns that they can present privacy and safety concerns.
October 14, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Dr. Baggili and his cyber forensics team at the University have found that while mobile health apps may be convenient and help people to live healthier lives, they may put users at risk.
Criminals could track a user’s information – and even their daily routine – through this technology, the researchers found. Many people use these apps to track their physical activity – to map a running route, for example – and that information becomes public to view.
"If there are options to make your data private, make sure that you choose those options."Abe Baggili, Ph.D.
The data can be used to track users online, gaining information about their interests, daily routine, and personal information, such as their home address or workplace.
"Maybe they don’t want to murder you, but they want to steal something from your house," Dr. Baggili recently told News 8. "They know exactly when you leave, exactly when you come home."
Despite these concerns, Dr. Baggili says that people don’t necessarily have to stop using these apps. He encourages users, though, to be aware of the settings on their devices, and to be careful what information – and when – they share on social media.
"Maybe you should consider that you’re sharing more things that you want to," he said. "If there are options to make your data private, make sure that you choose those options."