Indian Army Issues Advisory to Refrain from Social Media

In an advisory issued by the Indian army, officers holding critical posts would have to deactivate their Facebook accounts and have been asked not to use the WhatsApp, for any official communication as it has turned out to be a crucial source of collecting intelligence.

Crux of the Matter
  • The Indian Army advisory says WhatsApp and Facebook are vulnerable platforms through which substantial information can be extracted from OSINT or open-source intelligence.
  • The advisory cautions to not link Gmail accounts to multiple other applications which can compromise sensitive information on the email account.
  • Armed forces personnel and their families have been discouraged from posting their pictures in uniform or photographs of locations which might give out details of sensitive locations on social media.
  • Army personnel have asked to be cautious in giving out personal and professional details on social media platforms and should ensure correct privacy settings.
  • Due to the susceptibility of smartphones to cyber attacks forces have been asked to use phones only for voice calls and SMS and not any other applications.

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) is data collected from publicly available sources to be used in an intelligence context. In the intelligence community, the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources. OSINT is primarily used in national security, law enforcement, and business intelligence functions and is of value to analysts who use non-sensitive intelligence. With the advent of instant communications and rapid information transfer, a great deal of actionable and predictive intelligence can now be obtained from public, unclassified sources. More Info