Indian intelligence has forbidden all government officials from using WhatsApp, Telegram and other such platforms of private companies to share confidential information. The communication sent to all ministries has asked them to urgently take steps to stop violation of national communication security policies and guidelines.
The Indian intel has advised all government officials to refrain from using WhatsApp, Telegram and other social media platforms of private companies to share confidential information.
A new communication sent to all ministries asked them to urgently take steps to stop violation of national communication security policies and guidelines, News18 reported quoting sources. The intel team also gave guidelines for video conferencing and working from home.
Officials often resort to scanning classified documents, storing and sharing it from their phones through private apps, a senior official was quoted as saying.
“New devices pose a big risk for national security and must be avoided while discussing important classified or secret issues by all ministries,” the official said.
According to government sources, officials of all ministries have been asked to switch off digital assistants like Siri and Alexa in their smartphones and smartwatches during meetings discussing classified issues.
Further, officials have been asked to keep their smartphones and smartwatches outside while participating in such meetings. Office assistant devices such as Google Home, Apple HomePod or Amazon Echo should not be kept in the office premises.
Those working from home have been asked to refrain from sharing classified information or documents from the home set-up. Dissemination of all information should be done through the office network.
As per protocol, no classified information or issue should be discussed through virtual meetings. All officials should use the set-ups provided by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) for meetings rather than private applications. These applications should be password-protected and attendance for meetings should be marked, the sources said.
A senior official dealing with cybersecurity told the news portal that countries like Pakistan and China can use spywares in applications to get access to confidential information.
“Various countries develop applications, install servers in different locations and store data which are accessible to law enforcement agencies of these countries,” the official said.
In 2020, the government had banned over 50 apps originating from China such as TikTok, SHAREit, CamScanner and WeChat citing security reasons.