Indian Army Asks Personnel To Refrain From Using Social Media

Army Jawans urged to delete or deactivate Facebook accounts, change WhatsApp privacy settings

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has issued yet another advisory to more than a million of its personnel, urging them to delete or deactivate Facebook accounts. In the latest advisory, the Indian Army has asked its Jawans to refrain from using all social media platforms.

It is widely believed that the latest directive came after several cases of security personnel being targeted through these mediums surfaced.

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In its fresh advisory, the ACG said that WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption can become “ineffective” if a smartphone is hacked “or compromised,” WhatsApp’s privacy tools can’t be truly ‘trusted’ and shouldn’t be used for any official work.

The Indian Army hierarchy has urged upon officers that are holding sensitive or important postings to delete or deactivate their Facebook accounts, and to change certain WhatsApp settings.

The Indian Army said that by changing WhatsApp settings, its personnel can stop unwanted additions to unauthorised or undesirable groups

The advisory also noted that smartphones should be “audited at least once every three months to ensure they have not been compromised.”

It is pertinent to mention here that an officer of Sukna-based 33 Corps of Eastern Command was automatically added to a WhatsApp group by a “suspected number”. The officer took a screenshot and exited the group and the Army has warned officers of more such cases.

In the past, several cases have been reported by the Army where women spies have virtually honey-trapped the officers. Armed forces have also court-martialed some officers for posting “classified information” on social-media

Some officers have also reportedly been court martialed for sharing sensitive information on social media. This includes location of a battalion or a warship, or their patrolling patterns.

The Army Cyber Group pointed out “numerous instances of advertent or inadvertent loss of information” through social media.

On Dec 30, it may be recalled, Indian Navy banned using Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and other social media platforms in what appears to be desperate measure to save them from ‘honey trap’.

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