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Indian flag

The Indian Defence Ministry has advised troops stationed on the Chinese border to uninstall Chinese-made apps from their smartphones.

In an advisory sent to troops at the end of November, Indian authorities warned soldiers that Chinese apps transmit user data back to servers located in China, and the Chinese government may use data collected by these services to pinpoint their location across the border.

Advisory included names of 42 apps

The advisory included a list of 42 Android and iOS apps that officials advised soldiers to remove. According to several local news outlets [1, 2, 3, 4] the list included well-known apps such as Weibo, Wechat, UC Browser, and CM Browser; but also lesser known ones such as UC News, MI Community, DU Privacy, Selfie City, Mail Master, MI Videocall-Xiaomi, Beautyplus, and Nes Dog.

India and China are still at odds over the border’s location following the 1962 Sino-Indian War. The advisory was meant for soldiers stationed on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a disputed area in North India where sporadic conflicts still occur, with the most recent one taking place this past summer in the region of Doklam.

Huawei and ZTE devices are already banned on the border

Indian authorities previously banned the use Chinese-made hardware in the same border region, prohibiting the use of Huawei or ZTE networking equipment.

Despite tensions between the two countries, there is no general ban on Chinese products in India, nor of Indian products in China. Any bans on Chinese products are applied only in the LAC region.

In recent years, Indian authorities have been more worried in regards to Pakistan’s cyber-espionage efforts [1, 2, 3, 4]

The tensions between India, and China and India and Pakistan, are nowhere near the tensions between Russia and the US, especially after US officials have accused the Russian government of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election, and after DHS has banned the use Kaspersky products on government computers, accusing the Russian AV vendor of working with Russian intelligence to steal classified materials.

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