The Indian Army has issued a warning to users of social messenger application, WhatsApp, alleging that Chinese hackers are targeting them to extract personal data. The Army took to the microblogging site, Twitter to urge users to use WhatsApp with caution. Indian Army’s official handle, the Additional Directorate General of Public Interface (ADGPI) also posted a video that said, “Stay cautious, stay alert, stay safe! The Chinese were penetrating the digital world.”
The video urged users to save contacts by name and to constantly keep a vigil on all WhatsApp groups and numbers. “Chinese are using many platforms to penetrate your digital world. WhatsApp groups are a new way of hacking into your system. Chinese numbers barge into your groups and start extracting all the data,” it advises. “If you change your mobile number, inform the group admin; if you change your SIM card, destroy it completely,”
A few months ago, the army had ordered its personnel stationed in borders to uninstall several applications and format their phones to safeguard its data from Chinese hackers. According to the notifications issued earlier, the army had suspected that Chinese-developed applications were scripted with malware which could potentially endanger the national security of India. Smartphones manufactured by Chinese firm Xioami were under the radar of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force over security hazards. “As per reliable inputs, a number of Android/iOS apps developed by Chinese developers or having Chinese links are reportedly either spyware or other malicious ware. Use of these apps by our force personnel can be detrimental to data security having implications on the force and national security,” the advisory read.
According to an Indian Directive, “Any device sold in the country should be compliant with global security standards. If companies fail to comply, further action will be taken.”