Chinese are targeting Indians on WhatsApp, army warns. Safety-tips here
The Indian Army has warned citizens against Chinese hackers, who are now apparently targeting Indians through WhatsApp. Yesterday, the official Twitter handle of the army's Additional Directorate General of Public Information released a video detailing the alleged risks. It also offered suggestions on how people can keep themselves safe. In November, army personnel had been asked to remove several Chinese apps from their phones.
The video by the ADG-PI
Who are these hackers targeting Indians?
"The Chinese use all kinds of platforms to penetrate your digital world. WhatsApp groups are a new way of hacking into your system," the video begins. One of their latest styles of attack is barging into WhatsApp groups and then extracting data of users on that group, the video says. For this, the Chinese are using mobile numbers beginning with +86.
How can you keep yourself safe?
The video goes on to offer advice on how to prevent such potential attacks. Save all contacts in a WhatsApp group on your phone with proper names, so they are identifiable. Be on the lookout for unknown numbers entering WhatsApp groups. In case you change your number, inform the group admin immediately. Also make sure to deactivate WhatsApp before destroying the previous SIM.
Armymen along the LAC were asked to remove specific apps
In November, India asked its troops along the 4,057km-long LAC to uninstall 42 apps including WeChat, Truecaller, UC News and UC Browser and format their smartphones. This followed inputs that foreign intelligence agencies, especially those in Beijing and Islamabad, are using them to steal data from smartphones. "Use of these apps by our personnel can be detrimental to national security," a report said.
Even common citizens are at risk of Chinese spying attempts
In August, the government sent notices to 21 smartphone makers including Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO and Gionee for allegedly stealing users' personal information. Recently, a UK-based software engineer reported OnePlus is illegally accessing and stealing user data. Chinese companies have a major hold on the Indian IT industry, worth about $22bn, which the government feels can be misused.