Mumbai, December 6: Indian Army has asked its troops near Chinese border to format their smartphones and delete nearly 42 apps including WeChat, Truecaller and UC Browser. The move was on the back of intelligence reports that these apps destructive to national security due to possible links to Chinese hackers.
While it isn’t yet specified how the named applications gather intelligence or can be used by Chinese agencies, but the agencies have reportedly passed strict instructions not to “use these apps either in office or on personal mobile phones”. “If some of them are already using any of these apps, then they should be asked to immediately uninstall the app and format their cellphones,” it reads.
The full list of app includes: Weibo, WeChat, SHAREit, Truecaller, UC News, UC Browser, BeautyPlus, NewsDog, VivaVideo- QU Video Inc, Parallel Space, APUS Browser, Perfect Corp, Virus Cleaner (Hi Security Lab), CM Browser, Mi Community, DU recorder, Vault-Hide, YouCam Makeup, Mi Store, CacheClear DU apps studio, DU Battery Saver, DU Cleaner, DU Privacy, 360 Security, DU Browser, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile, Baidu Translate, Baidu Map, Wonder Camera, ES File Explorer, Photo Wonder, QQ International, QQ Music, QQ Mail, QQ Player, QQ NewsFeed, WeSync, QQ Security Centre, SelfieCity, Mail Master, Mi Video call-Xiaomi, QQ Launcher.
A similar instance happened in October 2014, when the Indian Air Force asked its personnel and their families not to use Chinese ‘Xiaomi Redmi 1s’ phones as it believed those phones could be transferring data to their servers in China and hence be a security risk.
"In response to certain reports, we would like to clarify that we are a Sweden-based company. We are not sure why the app is on this list, but we're investigating. Truecaller is not a malware, and all our features are permission based and are disabled by default," the leading communication app Truecaller said in a statement.
Xiaomi has also refuted these reports, saying they take security and privacy very seriously and were currently investigating the advisory.
“At SHAREit, we strictly adhere to high-security standards and respect our users' privacy. We do not compromise on user's security and their privacy is of utmost importance to us. We have a huge user base in India and we are committed to providing better products and service to our users with continuous technological developments," the company said in a statement.