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Indian Army's warning: Chinese hackers can steal data through WhatsApp

The Indian Army advised users to be vigilant and urged them to conduct regular audits of their groups to see if any number starting with +86 had joined a group.

Indian Army's warning: Chinese hackers can steal data through WhatsApp
Photo: Twitter/@adgpi

New Delhi: The Chinese are using WhatsApp to hack into systems in India, warns a video posted by the Indian Army on Sunday. The caution comes months after the Indian Army warned its soldiers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) against using apps like WhatsApp over security worries.

The Indian Army on Sunday released a video from their official Twitter handle and said that Chinese were penetrating the digital world.

The video, a little over a minute long, has also been reposted by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani from her official Instagram handle.

"The Chinese use all kinds of platforms to penetrate your digital world. WhatsApp groups are a new way of hacking into your system. Chinese numbers starting with +86 barge into your groups and start extracting all the data," says the video, tweeted from the Indian Army's official handle.

It asks users to save contacts by name, check all WhatsApp groups and cross-check unknown numbers constantly. "If you change your mobile number, inform the group admin; if you change your SIM card, destroy it completely," it advises.

The video is credited to the Indian Army's ADGPI (Additional Directorate General of Public Information). "Be alert, be cautious, be safe," the tweet says.

Last year, the Indian Army ordered its men on the border with China to format their smartphones and delete or uninstall over 40 apps said to be vulnerable to Chinese hackers.

The Indian Army suspects that apps developed by Chinese firms or with Chinese links are spyware and can endanger national security.

The Indian Army's warning video comes months after the two countries ended a lengthy stand-off at Doklam, which saw a build-up of Indian and Chinese forces at the border.