Army blacklists 3 apps, warns troops against using WeChat, Smesh, Line
The Army has blacklisted three applications available on Google playstore over threat of snooping by Pakistan. The Army had in February 2016 warned its personnel against downloading WeChat, Smesh and Line applications.
Google removed SmeshApp from its playstore after a CNN-IBN investigation revealed that Pakistan was using it to snoop on Indian military personnel. The app was used to access crucial information on troop movements and counter terrorism operations. The military personnel are also being asked to switch off location notification on phones in operational areas.
The CNN-IBN investigation found that Pakistani agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was using the malicious software to tap smartphones of military personnel.
Even the personal computers of the soldiers were infected with the spyware app SmeshApp which was easily available on Google playstores till late Monday night. Once installed, the app used to steal all stored information, tracking all movements, phone calls, text messages and even photographs. Virtually, the mobile phone and the Facebook account would start acting as a data base.
The information so collected is stored on a server located in Germany and is hosted by a man based out of Karachi.
The investigation showed, that using this method, Pakistan handlers were even getting crucial information on the movement of troops following the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in January 2016.
The soldiers are lured through Facebook accounts by honeytraps set by ISI. It is learnt that more than 10 such fake FB profiles are are now being used and that dozens of Indian military personnel are now unknowingly in touch with Pakistani handlers.
The three services of the armed forces - Army, Navy and Air Force - apart from the Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) are also targeted. The handlers identify 'soft' targets before trying to lure them. While field-level officers are the prime targets, even retired personnel are not spared.