Beefing up surveillance, the Indian Navy has issued orders to ban the use of social media by its personnel to curb cyber snooping, after an espionage racket with alleged links to Pakistan operating through Facebook, was busted on December 20.
Apart from banning the use of social media websites and Apps such as the Facebook, Instagram and even WhatsApp, the Navy order bans the use of smartphones within the area of all bases, and on ships and dockyards.
The restriction was imposed to avoid navy personnel from becoming target of honey traps run by spies on the social network, and in the process, compromising on sensitive information pertaining to national security.
The Andhra Pradesh Intelligence Department had launched an operation in association with Central Intelligence Agencies and Naval Intelligence and had arrested seven Navy personnel and a hawala operator from Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai respectively, after they allegedly passed on sensitive information like locations of naval ships and submarines to a Pakistani handler.
All these seven sailors who were recruited in 2017 had fallen prey to a honey trap on Facebook in September 2018.
Lured on the pretext of an online relationship, the sailors whose chats with the women were sexual in nature were also blackmailed later to reveal the positions and movement of our warships and submarines. The sailors were also paid money every month through the hawala operator.
The police arrested three Indian Navy sailors from Visakhapatnam, two from Karwar naval base, and two from Mumbai naval base.