Mobile apps a threat to our internal security? 

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By: Dr. Satywan Saurabh

India has recently said to block 47 more Chinese apps besides 59 apps given the security threat. These apps are engaged in activities that pose a serious threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state and public order.

As such, mobile users around the world are generally unaware of the importance of internal security and often believe that free mobile apps are safe for download. Such apps become the main source of mobile threats to internal security because of the low cost and ease of developing mobile malware.

Malware is an attack designed to harm a single computer, server, or computer network. Ransomware, spyware, and Trojans are all types of malware.

Vannakri was a ransomware attack that quickly spread around the world in May 2017. Ransomware locked users’ devices to their level and prevented users from accessing data and software until a certain ransom was paid. India’s top five cities (Kolkata, Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Pune, and Mumbai) along with other cities around the world were affected by it, causing panic in India’s banking sector.

Similarly, phishing is a fraudulent way of trying to gather personal information using sensitive e-mails and websites. This is when an attacker tricks a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message and steals his information. Often this is done to steal the user’s data, which includes login credentials and credit card numbers.

In the Internet world, denial-of-service is an attack that occurs to shut down a machine or network, these attacks are done by sending information to target with traffic or trigger an accident. In 2012, six banks in the USA were attacked similarly.

A local, state, or central government collects confidential data related to its citizens. Unauthorized access to this data can pose a serious threat to a country. Such as Aadhaar data breach in our country. Today’s photos, videos, and other personal information shared by a person on social networking sites may be improperly used by others, leading to serious and even fatal incidents. Therefore it is harmful to the citizens.

Employees of big companies have a lot of data and information on their mobiles. Cyberattacks or theft of such information through mobile apps can lead to loss of patent or original work as well as the loss of personal data of employees/customers. Nowadays many public employees also store important data on mobile. Their mobile microphones or cameras can be turned on and off via telecommunications, resulting in a security risk.

In 2019, India’s thrust towards cashless payments has intensified, with card and mobile payments increasing by 20% in India. And nowadays most of the payment is done through mobile phones; such apps steal the user’s sensitive information and pose a threat to the user’s financial security.

Such mobile applications pose a serious threat to the internal security of the country. Government initiatives and necessary steps can help in tackling this internal security threat.

As most of the mobile application market is dominated by Chinese apps, today we need to be encouraged to develop indigenous apps, which will help secure the use of critical apps.

Just like the Cyber Security India initiative was launched in 2018 to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for security measures for chief government security officers and advance IT staff in all government departments, now the common man Need to do There is also a need to develop awareness among people to mitigate mobile application based threats.

To become a secure and reliable mobile system, India needs to join hands with many developed countries like the USA, Singapore, Japan, etc. These agreements will help India challenge even more sophisticated mobile app based on cyber threats.

At the same time, individual-level strategies should be adopted to secure data such as, locking phones with a complex passcode, encrypting storage, learning to remotely wipe cell phones, etc.

Today, there are about 420 million mobile phone users in India. A single mobile data breach can also pose a major threat to national internal security facing any country. Therefore, today, like border security, it is imperative to be prepared to meet any kind of challenge in the future. Such vigilance will help in securing the internal security of the country as well as ensure confidential as well as personal information of the users. (The writer is a Research Scholar in Political Science, Delhi University)

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