The Indian Army has released a video warning their citizens about Chinese hackers extracting their personal information through social media application ‘Whatsapp’. A video that appeared on the official Twitter account of Additional Directorate General of Public Interface has accused hackers of Chinese Army of intruding unlawfully into the Whatsapp groups of Indians.
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“The Chinese use all kinds of platforms to penetrate your digital world. WhatsApp groups are a new way of hacking into your system. Chinese numbers starting with +86 barge into your groups and start extracting all the data,” a video tweeted by the ADGPI said.
The video has asked the Indian Whatsapp users to be vigilant of the activities on their official as well as personal Whatsapp groups.
The video has also briefed the citizens on how they can thwart these hacking attempts.
Indian Army advised the users to regularly check their groups and ensure no unauthorized number is added to the group. The video further adds to keep a check on foreign numbers especially starting with +86 as they are used by Chinese hackers to extract information from Whatsapp groups.
Other security tips includes saving the numbers with name, do regular security of unknown numbers, inform the admin of Whatsapp group if you have changed mobile number. It also asks to destroy SIM card and delete WhatsApp group on that number in case a user has switched to new mobile number.
Cyber experts say hacking WhatsApp group is ‘no rocket science’. It does not require extensive technical details to hack WhatsApp groups.
“It’s not rocket science. There are certainly paid tools such as Spyzie that can be used to easily gain access to another person’s smartphone. We go ahead and install applications without gauging the security risks. Why should we give access to our contact list or camera to an app that does not even need access to them?” said Altaf Halde, a cybersecurity expert.
Halde says users should not open link coming from unknown numbers and also must not give contacts access to other mobile applications since other social media applications are equally vulnerable.
These warnings from Indian Army came four months after Indian and Chinese Army resolved their months long standoff at Doklam. Indian Army barred their soldiers posted on Line of Actual Control from using multiple social media applications as they were vulnerable to hacking from Chinese hackers.
The recent reports on ‘cyber security’ in India suggest it has the most number of Internet users in the world after China. However, it also shows India ranks higher than its global peers in being a victim of malware and ransom ware attack.
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The report suggests India was the third most affected country during ‘WannaCry’ ‘ransomware’ attack in May 2017. The experts believe India lacks an ‘ecosystem’ that will protect India from cyber threats as it is facing a dearth of 4 lakh security experts needed to support the system.