Hyderabad: Forty Indian Air Force officers serving at the training station in Hyderabad reportedly broke security rules by carrying smartphones in restricted areas and were found exchanging official service-related information on WhatsApp. This was revealed when their smartphones were confiscated. Several such incidents were reported in 2018.
A source told this newspaper, “Mobile phones have the potential to compromise information sec-urity as they are prone to interception by Frequ-ency Modulation Recei-vers. It is detrimental to an extent that it can sabotage aerospace safety of the IAF, maintenance safety and above all the secrecy of a mission.”
The IAF policy does not allow carriage and use of smartphones inside technical area, both at the Command HQs and at training centres, that includes flying bases. The IAF has permitted its personnel to carry a ‘basic mobile phone’ which is operated under an independent AF service pro-vider. The basic mobile phone can have advanced features like storage, memory, camera, GPS, MMS, internet connectivity, data transfer and wired or wireless connectivity with computers.
The Indian Army, too, has barred use of mobile phones (smart and basic general model) in forward lines sensitive to enemy attacks. Sources say carrying any powered-on mobile phone that is exchanging signals with the nearest cell tower can give away the location of the personnel. “Every cellphone, regardless of its features, is constantly sending out polling signals. The purpose of that is to determine where the nearest cell tower is. As soon as it establishes this, the polling signal is bounced back by the tower. The process is called triangulation. If it gets a bounce back by 2-3 towers nearby, the location can be identified through software using simple geometry. To track a location one has to the “upset” equipment that will have to mimic the acts of a cell tower. Earl-ier, the enemy used Sti-ngray phone tracker to track locations....