The Indian government has succeeded in de-escalating the Dokalm issue from proceeding to a full faced war between India and China. India was praised worldwide for its diplomacy and the way it handled the situation. However, this has made China unhappy that it had to bow out of the situation. China has always opposed India on global forums on the question of India’s participation in Nuclear Suppliers Group. It has also vetoed UN’s decision to declare Pakistan a safe house for terrorists. Since the Doklam issue, Indian intelligence agencies RAW and NTRO had been keeping a close watch on China to know their next course of action. The motive was to know how China plans to avenge the humiliation they suffered at Dokalm.
This surveillance has turned out to be fruitful. A countrywide advisory has been issued to the Army and Paramilitary Forces to uninstall mobile applications like Weibo, WeChat, and others which have Chinese links. The intelligence believes it has enough evidence which points to an upcoming cyber attack from China using these applications. According to the exact advisory, most apps developed by Chinese developers are malware. They can pose a great risk to the security and integrity of information stored in devices where these applications are installed. Officials have been asked to advise all of their subordinates to uninstall these applications with immediate effect and hard reset their phones if possible.
Amongst the listed apps in the high-risk zone are WeChat, Baidu Maps, Weibo, UC News, UC Browser and TrueCaller. The TrueCaller app has been the victim of cyber attacks earlier. Personal data of millions of user were compromised. There remains a question about the security of its servers. UC Browser is an app which refuses to close even after exiting the app. It keeps running in the background which pops an idea of the application having malevolent intentions. The Home ministry thinks apps like WeChat, which has access to user’s phonebook, can easily steal the phone numbers and pass it on to unscrupulous minds who might try to harm the user someway.
There was a similar warning from NTRO in 2012 before the ITPB attacks. It was not paid heed to and confidential information regarding bunker locations, armaments acquisitions, and troops movement were leaked. The government is giving full heed this time and wants the defense to be safe from any possible attack from Chinese hackers and cybercriminals.
We have a two-faced neighbor and that is a fact. It is a nation which can prepare an attack on India while its President is sipping tea with our Prime Minister or President in our own country and speaking about bilateral co-operation and agreements. Chinese smartphones and routers have certain vulnerabilities. They can steal and pass on confidential information. Hackers can also use these vulnerabilities to break into the system and access confidential information while staying undetected. Since 2010 the government is trying to cleanse the country from Chinese dependence. There is a strong need to use minimum Chinese electronic products to stay safe from any possible cyber attack. This is the only way by which we can keep the status quo in our favor.