Indian Army cracks down on personnel violating its cyber security norms

The Army is carrying out a month-long cyber security exercise to identify and crack down on those violating its norms for all online activities. A communication sent out by the Army headquarters to all its units and formations said those found violating the norms would face “exemplary” punishment.

A set of dos and don’ts, in line with the Army’s cyber security policy, has been attached with the communication. This includes asking the troops to limit their online presence, such as on Facebook and large WhatsApp groups, and not forwarding or storing sensitive data on their electronic devices. According to highly-placed Army sources, the exercise will continue till mid-August.

The communication comes just about a week after Army headquarters had issued a directive on information security, where it warned its personnel about the leak of sensitive information about the armed forces and the increasing use of personal devices, especially smartphones, and messaging apps like WhatsApp to exchange official information.

A top Army source had earlier said that about a hundred personnel were under close watch for their online activities, but that is not related to this particular exercise. While directions are issued from time to time, the sources said, this is the first time that such a formal exercise is being carried out on cyber security. The exercise will first involve sensitising the troops across the country about ways to ensure cyber security within the Army and the use of social media platforms by personnel, which will then be followed by surprise checks to punish those violating the norms.