Data Attack: Now a Threat to Smartphone AppsIndia is one of the biggest marketsfor Chinese smartphones with Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus & Lenovo, dominating themarket.

Despite this, recently some Chinese apps were asked to be deleted dueto the risk of data attack.The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had commandedall troops to delete nearly 40 apps on their phones that located along theborder of India and China to delete close to 40 apps on their smartphones. Thiswas in result to a cyberattack. This Deputy Minister of India had issued an advisoryto avert and stop China and its government from tracking down location of othertroops (here, India’s). This could easily be done through certain smartphonesand apps.

Telecommunication equipment companieslike ZTE and Huawei are asked to be banned in the bordering area networks. Andthis could cause a big threat to the Indian troops because their master serverswere in China. Some other apps that have been commanded to be deleted areWechat, Truecaller, MI, et cetera.What had happened earlier? This is not the first time that such awarning has been given. The red flags have been raised for the Chinese hackersbefore. In the year 2012, India had faced its biggest cyberattack when theIndo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was compromised.

In December 2015, due to the same fearof the Chinese hackers, the defence ministry had banned access to the usage ofinternet and stopped the use of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled device, sourcesThePrint. (source: https://theprint.in/2017/11/28/troops-told-to-format-smartphones-delete-42-apps-after-chinese-spyware-threat/)What can happen?Several apps allow developers toenable and check phone locations, view their photos, and even listen in throughthe microphone at all times. This data could be easily used during a conflictby the Chinese government. And this in turn, could cause security problems forboth the borders. How? An app developer can access data through the location ofa soldier’s phone to detect its movements.  Question of security The intelligence agency believes thatthe apps are “detrimental to data security” and a huge threat to nationalsecurity. India’s intelligence bureau has told the government that the militaryforces must immediately uninstall their apps.

The intelligence bureau advices to notonly delete those certain risk-bearing apps but to reset the entire telephonicdevice. This is to be done to make sure no backend process has remained toeventually spy on the soldiers’ phones. Cyber security initiative in Indiamust be an example for the world. The government must start encouraging and promotingthe start-ups and other big companies to come up with solutions facing cybersecurity problems for India.

As an individual, we must continually review andensure that our products meet a high standard of user experience andinformation security.     

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