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Indian Army Chief Cautions Soldiers About Honey-Traps on Social Media

© REUTERS / Mukesh GuptaAn Indian army soldier keeps vigil near the site of a gunbattle with suspected militants at Pindi Khattar village in Arnia near the border with Pakistan November 27, 2014
An Indian army soldier keeps vigil near the site of a gunbattle with suspected militants at Pindi Khattar village in Arnia near the border with Pakistan November 27, 2014 - Sputnik International
With the reports emerging of Indian soldiers increasingly falling victim to honey traps operated via fake social media accounts, allegedly from Pakistan, the Indian Army is in the process of setting up a cyber unit to tackle the matter and train its personnel in the prudent use of social media.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Sombir Singh, an Indian soldier stationed near the India-Pakistan border was arrested for passing sensitive and secret information to a Pakistani fake Facebook account holder, according to a media report. The Facebook account was said to be operated by the Pakistan intelligence agency under the pseudonym Anika Chopra, a supposed female Indian Army medical officer. Sombir Singh shared sensitive information related to troop deployments, their movement, and details on arms and ammunition supplies.

The problem of honey trapping has now become a cause of concern for the Indian Army. Even the Army Chief has cautioned his men to use social media carefully.

An Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) of the Indian Air Force - Sputnik International
Honey-Trapped Indian Air Force Officer Held for Passing on Info to Foreign Spy
Sources in the Indian Army told Sputnik that recently there has been an increase in the attempts to 'honey trap' enlisted men in order to get sensitive information.

The Indian Army chief raised this concern on the occasion of the Army Day celebrations in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"We have to be careful while using social media. Even our families should also use social media cautiously," Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said.

It was not the first time the Army Chief had cautioned the troops about social media spying; he had done so a week earlier as well.

"Don't befriend women with names of film stars on social media, these could be honey traps," Gen. Bipin Rawat said earlier. "What makes you think they want to be friends with you? They would not want to be friends with any Tom, Dick and Harry," he expounded.

READ MORE: Pakistani Intelligence Honey-Trapped Indian Air Force Official

India's Army Chief said that it's not possible to put a ban on the use of social media in the military but it must be used in a constructive manner. "It should not compromise our security, as it can be used by our adversaries to trap us," the general said in his address to the troops.

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BrahMos Scientist Arrested for Spying, Was Honey-Trapped on Internet – Police
Meanwhile, Indian Army veterans have some tips for the establishment to tackle social media honey traps.

"Military and other intelligence agencies should take strict action to avoid these incidents. Further, defence officials should use social media carefully and cautiously. Soldiers deployed at the borders or in the sensitive areas are particularly vulnerable as they are young and alone. They can be easily honey trapped. Therefore these army men should be given proper guidance and their social media activities should be monitored," Ashwani Siwach, a former Indian Army major general told Sputnik.

"Social media has now become part and parcel of our lives, so soldiers cannot be prevented from using social media. It would be important that they be properly educated about the pitfalls of social media, etc," Siwach added.

"The Indian Army is gearing to counter the digital warfare and is in the process of setting up a new set-up for social media and training for soldiers. In fact, in this way the army can use social media to its own advantage, too," Major General Siwach (retd.) said.

India's defence cyber-agency, tasked with the defensive, deterrence and offensive aspects of cyber-warfare, will soon start operation, the country's top army official said on Tuesday. The agency will employ over 1,000 people, brought in from the Indian Air Force, the Army and the Navy, and will be headed by two-star rank officer.

"It will be an inter-services agency, not purely Army, functioning under the Integrated Defence Staff and they will be looking after all the threats in the cyber domain," Lt. Gen. Naravane, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, said Tuesday during Army Day celebrations at the Army's Eastern Command headquarter in Kolkata.

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