Indian Army Issues Advisory For Officers To Deactivate Facebook
Imran Fazal - Nov 20, 2019
Senior officers of the Indian Army holding important posts have been asked to deactivate Facebook accounts and not use Whatsapp for formal communication.
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In an advisory issued by the Indian army, senior officers holding important posts have been asked to deactivate Facebook accounts and not use popular messaging platform Whatsapp for formal communication. Recently, Whatsapp admitted that surveillance software called Pegasus, owned by an Israel based NSO group had been used to compromise some of its Indian users, including journalists and activists. This led to severe criticism of Whatsapp and now the Chhattisgarh Police has contacted the Israeli company behind the Pegasus spyware to seek information about the entire snooping incident.
In the new advisory, army officers have been advised to not post pictures on their social media accounts. The family members have been asked to refrain from posting images of army personnel in uniforms on social media platforms. Popular social media platforms are now being used to collect crucial intelligence and officers have been requested to deactivate their accounts. The Indian army has also created a policy regarding the use of social media which was in place since 2016.
Moreover, it has been recommended that army officers should not link their Gmail accounts to numerous third applications or websites. Cellphones must be used to only communicate via calls and messages. Though Whatsapp has an end to end encryption, an issue in security measures by the messaging application has led to the vulnerability of army officers losing crucial information. The family and friends of army officers have to be educated to not share posts that are related to army officers. Officers have been advised to not share their personal and professional details on social media platforms.
The use of GPS locations on smartphones should be strictly avoided. The same with emails sent for official communication. The advisory has also warned army officers to be aware of phishing campaigns which could lead to personal phones being compromised. Army officers working in red zone areas must be alert before using their cellphones and should disconnect location services on their phones.