The Indian Army has taken quite an interesting decision. It has asked the officers holding higher posts not to use any social media platform. They have further been told to deactivate their Facebook accounts and other messaging applications.
But why such decision? What is the problem in using social media platforms? Let us take a look:
The Army officers have been told that they can not use any popular messaging applications like WhatsApp or Facebook for official communication. Army has cautioned officers holding sensitive posts in all headquarters, brigades, and divisions that WhatsApp is a vulnerable platform. It should not be used as a medium for any official communication.
Although WhatsApp is an end-to-end encrypted platform; the officials say that the encryption will cease to work if the handset on which it is used gets compromised.
Recently, WhatsApp admitted that its privacy was compromised after a surveillance software called Pegasus attacked the application. The software was owned by an Israel-based NSO group.
The popular social media platform Facebook has also turned out to be a crucial source of collecting information and intelligence. Hence, the officers holding higher and critical positions are told to deactivate their accounts.
The families of armed personnel are also discouraged from posting pictures in uniform or photographs, as they can reveal the locations and sensitive information.
Leakage Of Information
There have been a number of instances where the army has to face the loss of information through social media. Despite multiple measures and directives, there were times when such threats of information leak have occurred.
The social media policy for the army is already there since 2016. The advisory also talks about agencies possessing tools for monitoring and analyzing data on social media.
The sensitivity of information about the armed forces has remained a matter of concern for the Indian military. To ensure that the information and all the data are safe multiple, directives and advisories advice on the use of social media.
Vulnerability of Smartphones
Smartphones are highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The usage of social media and other applications should be avoided on smartphones. They should only be used for voice calls and SMS.
Experts say that location services on a smartphone can give out vital details of the movement. The army personnel is asked to keep the location services off at all times to avoid the leakage of information.
Indian army has started month-long cybersecurity exercise to identify those who are violating these rules. The ones found violating rules would face exemplary punishment.
Director-General of Military Operations issued a list of instructions on information security to all army units and formations. This will help the army personnel to understand the advanced monitoring, data analysis capabilities, and decryption techniques.