Arogya Setu app, which was widely talked about by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he urged people to download it, might have a flip side too. The application can be misused by Pakistan intelligence operatives by slightly changing its name.
The healthcare application intends to collect data about one's location and then compare it with the data of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s of COVID-19 tests to warn a user if an infected person is in close proximity.
Sources said that the Army personnel have been cautioned about the development and have been asked to download the application only from MyGov.in or Android and IOS play store.
Sources have stated that a malicious application with the name of "ArogyaSetu.apk" has been allegedly designed that can be sent to Indian defence personnel through Whatsapp from the United Kingdom (UK).
How this app can pose a serious threat to Indian forces
Defence officials while talking about the app stated that once this application is installed on a mobile phone, it has the ability to extract sensitive information about the forces and send it to the originator without the owner even knowing it. The app can also access the contact list saved on a device and this can pose a serious threat to Indian forces.
Hackers from Pakistan have been posing as the Indian government to send emails containing malware to victims. Families of Army personnel are victims too as they sometimes can fall prey to a call and reveal the location of a particular unit or formation.
The Army had asked its personnel to follow certain protocols in place before downloading and while using the Aarogya Setu application like switching off location services while moving inside cantonments or military stations and asking personnel not to disclose their service identity.
Officials added that the Pakistan-based operatives have been routing their calls through the United States.
However, regular cybersecurity exercises are conducted to sensitise the families and the personnel about the threat posed by hackers and malware, it is always better to keep guard during such times when such operatives become more active.