The Indian government has taken bold steps to reduce the security challenges the country faces in the presence of major apps from non-Indian companies. New guidelines have been adopted by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) over the past couple of months, and even before that, several Chinese apps were dropped from the country. It looks like the government is not stopping there. Now, government employees are banned from using third-party VPNs and other anonymization services by companies that are apparently not of Indian origin.
Government employees would stop using non-government services
According to a new document titled “Cybersecurity Guidelines for Government Employees”, all government employees across India should stop using non-government cloud services and applications. These apps include Dropbox and GoogleDrive.
“In order to sensitize government employees and contracted/outsourced resources and sensitize them on what to do and what not to do from a cybersecurity perspective, these guidelines have been compiled,” indicates the document.
Government employees are also advised not to use third-party virtual private networks (VPNs) and services offered by companies such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Tor.
As a reminder, NordVPN and ExpressVPN announced a while ago that they would not keep servers in India as they did not want to adhere to new CERT-In guidelines which required you to retain user data for a period of five year. .
In addition to this, the Nation Information Center (NIC), which falls under India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has instructed government employees not to “root” or “jailbreak” their cell phones ( via AND). Additionally, the use of any external mobile app-based scanning service, such as CamScanner, to scan “internal government documents” is also prohibited.
In case you don’t know, CamScanner was one of the apps on the list of several banned apps by the Indian government in 2020. However, the app continues to work through different versions on the Android PlayStore and the iOS App Store.
“By following uniform cybersecurity guidelines in government offices across the country, the government’s security posture can be improved,” the internal document notes.
Although the new guidelines were passed to “raise awareness” among government employees, they appear to be much more dictatorial, in particular, with the government not wanting employees to use services like Google Drive, which is widely used around the world.
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