As per reliable inputs, a number of Android/IOS apps developed by Chinese developers or having Chinese links are reportedly either spyware or malicious ware.
The Ministry of Defence has issued a new order to the Indian armed forces asking officers and all security personnel to remove over 42 mobile applications as these have been classified as ‘spyware’.
According to a media report, the full list of mobile applications are: 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, and QQ Launche.
The order issued by MoD, seen by a media house, reads, “As per reliable inputs, a number of Android/IOS apps developed by Chinese developers or having Chinese links are reportedly either spyware or other malicious ware. Use of these apps by our force personnel can be detrimental to data security having implications on the force and national security.” It further continues that , “Therefore it is requested that all officers and men under your command may be advised to not use these apps 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 for strict compliance. You are requested to issue comprehensive guidelines on this matter.”
Responding to the media reports, Xiaomi has stated, “At Xiaomi, we take security and privacy very seriously. Our global e-commerce platforms and user data for all international users is located on Amazon AWS data centers in California and Singapore. We are currently investigating the advisory and would like to assure Mi Fans that we are fully committed to storing and transferring our users’ data securely at all times.”
UC Web has also issued a statement saying, “Recent media reports regarding Indian troops uninstalling multiple apps have left us aggrieved and hurt. At UC Web we take security and privacy practices very seriously and work hard to comply with local regulations of each region we operate in, including India. We pride ourselves on having a long-term commitment to India and our millions of Indian users. UC Browser and UC News are neither spyware nor malicious ware as alleged in the reports.”
File sharing platform SHAREit on November 4 responded that, “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,”
“We have taken this issue seriously and are investigating the advisory. We are also happy to interact with government and media representatives to give more clarity. As per industry standards, we have also partnered with Amazon AWS [Amazon Web Services] as our infrastructure service provider, aiming to provide fast and secure service to our global users,” SHAREit added.