Tip For Fitness Geeks – How To Maintain Your Fitness Apps’ Online Security

The Need to Maintain Fitness Apps’ Online Security

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Today’s plethora of fitness apps has helped fitness geeks fulfill their exercise goals more easily than ever before. While you still need to actually hit the gym, the options for analyzing your performance, tracking your progress, and identifying room for improvement have exploded. Fitness geeks have to contend with the online security and privacy risks that come with using apps for fitness.

Fitness apps are a prime target for hackers since they tend to contain a lot of data that identifies the user. This information is very valuable not just for corporations and advertisers, but for those with outright intent to harm. You, therefore, need to maintain viable security standards to avoid identity theft, information theft, and inadvertent exposure of data that may be used against you as an app user.

The Benefits Of Fitness Apps

Despite the risks that come with using fitness apps to complement your physical workouts, it’s clear that the utility from fitness apps makes them very valuable.

Some great apps that many users are using for fitness include Fitbit, Withings, MyFitnessPal, and Strava.

A 2015 academic study found that fitness geeks that used fitness apps were statistically more likely to be more active and fit than compared to individuals who did not use apps. Using apps is, therefore, a viable help in pursuing health and fitness goals. You just need to be aware of the best ways to protect your identity and data while you use these apps.

What Can Go Wrong With Fitness App Data

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At the most basic level, a fitness app user should be aware that data that gets into an app can theoretically be used by the company making the app in whatever way they see fit. Instead of thinking that your data is private only to yourself, you should know that the data is available to the app makers, and act accordingly.

The company that makes the app not only can see and use your private data, but they frequently sell this data to the highest bidder as well.

Fitness and activity data is very valuable to a slew of companies in the healthcare, insurance, supplements and medical industries. What the companies do with the data ranges from targeting ads, targeting marketing campaigns, all the way to some other not so benign uses.

The other part of online privacy and security is the wide range of risks that come from hacking. Hackers have been known to hack fitness apps and medical devices, taking advantage of lax security measures built into these new technologies.

Users, on the other hand, commit blunders like using weak passwords or leaving accounts logged in on shared workstations. When an attacker gains access to a fitness account, they can mine all the personal data that the user has uploaded. Frequently, they can use account and other security information to hack into your other personal accounts on other services. From a single hack comes access to, potentially, a user’s entire online data and accounts.

In January 2016, for example, hackers targeted Fitbit user accounts and stole some data. They also tried to steal equipment from the Fitbit manufacturer through a warranty program that would replace the devices. The hackers made away with GPS data and other user activity data which, in the hands of a criminal organization, could be dangerous for users. The Fitbit company made the situation worse by blaming end users for the breaches.

User data can be very valuable, as was revealed in the Zomato hacking case. A hacker stole personal user data, then posted it for sale on the dark web, where criminal organizations buy such data.

Using A VPN For Fitness App Security

When it comes to securing your fitness apps from attacks, one of the best methods is to connect your fitness app to the internet via a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN, such as LimeVPN, creates a private tunnel between your app and servers that use encryption to secure the data passing through. Instead of connecting you directly to web pages and internet-connected servers, the VPN service initiates requests on your behalf and sends the data over a secure connection back to you.

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LimeVPN is a fast VPN service that writes its own VPN software and manages servers directly to deliver the fastest possible experience. LimeVPN brings 256-bit encryption which protects the data that you are sending from your fitness app to the servers of the fitness app makers.

Plans for LimeVPN start at a low $2.99 a month for the basic plan. If you pay yearly, prices come down even further to $1.49 a month. For the level of protection you get for your fitness app data, these are low rates that make the service worth the cost. If you desire more powerful VPN capabilities, you can select the LimeVPN Pro package, which packs more power at a cost of $29.98 a month. Switching to yearly billing for the Pro package also gives you huge savings by reducing your monthly cost to only $14.98.  

LimeVPN comes with setup instructions for mobile operating systems like Android and iOS, as well as for computers running Windows and Mac operating systems. On Android, for instance, you need to download the OpenVPN client and the OpenVPN files. Once you have OpenVPN installed with the files, you enter your LimeVPN username and password to connect to limeVPN’s servers. Your connection to the internet, as long as you are using a VPN, will be secure from a wide range of common attacks.

On the other hand, when you connect directly to the internet instead of using a VPN service, your data is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Your connection data, including geolocation and browser information, is available to the servers that you connect to.

App Permissions, Passwords and Aliases

To maintain your fitness apps’ online security, you also need to pay attention to app permissions. Regularly checking app permissions keeps you in control of which apps are able to access your fitness data. You might have allowed social media apps like Facebook and Twitter to access your fitness app data in order to share your exercise accomplishments.

Some apps, however, can expose your data if you are not careful. Data that should be private, for instance, medical conditions and other tracking data, can end up being exposed through other apps that you have granted permissions to access it. To avoid exposing your data, you need to make sure you share your fitness app data with only a handful of the essential apps and take a hard look at new apps before you grant them access.

To prevent your fitness app data from identifying you in case it falls into the wrong hands, you can use online aliases instead of your identifying particulars. For data that does not have contractual obligations attached, this is a perfectly acceptable way of keeping yourself anonymous when using these fitness apps.

In addition, you need to make use of the strongest possible passwords for your fitness accounts. Strong passwords are harder to crack for hackers and, thus, keep your data secure.

The Techniques For Fitness App Online Security

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Fitness apps are here to enhance your fitness activities. To be safe, however, you need to pay special attention to a range of security measures that can maintain your fitness apps’ online security. These include using VPN services that make use of encrypted online connections, as well as employing complex, highly secure passwords. When you keep your fitness apps under strong security measures, you are much more likely to be able to withstand fitness app hacking attacks.

Images sourced from Pexels.

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