A popular, free messaging app in India that functioned similarly to Whatsapp has been removed from Google's Play store after an Indian TV station claimed the app was used by Pakistan intelligence to surveil Indian military and intelligence officials.
The messaging application, known as SmeshApp, allowed users to make free calls, text messages, and send photos for free, requested permission to access sensitive data, including the user's contact list, geolocation, photo and video gallery, and camera data.
Indian officials reached out to Google, and the app was subsequently removed from the Play store. Google didn't reply to requests for comment from SCMagazine.com.
Ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan have increasingly moved to the cyber realm, according to a report issued last month. ISIS hackers have also sought to recruit Indian hackers, offering $10,000 per job or more. During a six-month period, more than 30,000 individuals in India have been contacted online by ISIS through web services like Skype or “dark web” forums.