Officers of the Indian Army, particularly those holding critical posts, have been asked to deactivate their Facebook accounts and stop using WhatsApp, the popular messaging application, for any official communication, a media report has revealed.
In an advisory issued last month, the Indian Army cautioned officers holding sensitive posts that WhatsApp is a vulnerable platform and any official communication on it should be avoided.
The army advisory further said that though WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, encryption would cease to be effective if the mobile handset gets compromised.
The advisory was issued after the army’s cyber group analysed social media trends and identified fresh problems on the way its personnel were using the internet.
WhatsApp has been in the spotlight recently for admitting that a surveillance software called Pegasus, owned by the Israel-based NSO Group, had been used to compromise some Indian users, including journalists and activists.
The army said Facebook, a popular social media platform, was also emerging as a crucial source of collecting intelligence, and therefore there was a need for officers in critical positions to deactivate their accounts.
Armed forces personnel and their families have been asked not to post pictures in uniform or photographs of sensitive locations on Facebook or other social media apps.
The advisory also states that army personnel should be cautious in giving out personal and professional details while creating accounts on social media platforms. It further states that substantial information can be extracted just by analysing posts or comments on social media made by either army personnel or their families or friends.
Army personnel have been cautioned not to link their emails to other applications as well.