Countries pulling up their guard against suspicious apps

WION New Delhi, India Jul 09, 2020, 08.04 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Representative image of Indian Army. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

The decision comes a few days after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps following the Ladakh border stand-off.

The Indian Army has banned 89 applications and asked all its officers and soldiers to uninstall them by July 15, reports said on Wednesday.

These include Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder, OkCupid, UC Browser, Bumble, ShareIt, Xender, Helo, CamScanner, Club Factory and others.

The decision comes around 10 days after the Indian government prohibited 59 Chinese mobile applications, including the famous video-sharing app TikTok, offering a harsh expression on India's stand against Chinese aggression.

Also read: India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser citing national security

However, India is not the first country to resort to this move. Several militaries across the world have been pulling up their guard against suspicious apps.

Countries like Turkey and Russia have banned the use of smartphones altogether at forward posts.

Soldiers with smartphones can be easy targets for the enemy especially at a border with war-mongering China.

Also read: Facebook, Instagram, PUBG, Tinder among 89 apps banned by Indian army

Cell phones are fearfully insecure is a simple malware trap and they could reveal strategic locations and positions.

For soldiers a smartphone can be a morale booster but it can also undermine operational security.

China has already warned its troops against cab-hailing apps citing that they pose security risks.

GPS detectors can pass on the user's location and personal information. China claimed hackers were collecting location data around military installations...

In January, the US Defence forces bannned Tik-Tok after a Pentagon directive. Now the US Navy has gone on a Twitter rant advising its sailors to not to use Tik-Tok.

In 2017, Israeli army launched a smartphone for its soldiers. The encrypted phones allow soldiers to send text messages, images and e-mails securely.

But since 2017 Hamas has tried thrice to honey-trap Israeli defence staff through dating apps. They attempted to dupe troops by posing as Israeli women.

Now, Israel has put up posters in barracks saying warning to stay on guard against the enemy is listening. 

In 2016, Indonesia banned police and military personnel from playing pokemon go. The move came after a Frenchman entered a military base hunting for virtual pocket monsters.

Just a week before, the police had fought off a gunman and foiled a suicide bombing attempt outside a police station.

Some intelligence agencies are not only tracking troop movements they also follow individuals when they go home.

Few NATO personnel in the Baltics and their families were apparently traced by Russian entities.

Enemies will always exploit vulnerabilities, both technological and human. Smartphone apps expose both the weaknesses at once.

Social media posts can help find and track soldiers as well as pull the curtain on military activity.