New Delhi: When defence personnel are under constant attacks from hackers to steal classified information, the Indian Air Force is arming all its personnel with smartphones to protect them from offensives. These are special smart phones that the IAF is in the process of providing to all its 1.75 lakh personnel which are hack proof as they connect only with the Indian Air Force internal network.
“All IAF personnel from airmen to officers are being provided these smartphones, which can protect our communication from getting intercepted and also prevents our data from being leaked to hackers who are always on the prowl for classified defence-related information,” an IAF officer said here. The phones are equipped with facilities of video calling and voice calling but they do not have any apps like other general smartphones. “In future, we may develop and provide apps which can be of help for the air warriors like if they need any information immediately about their salary or any other issue,” the officer said. The phones also provide end-to-end connectivity at all times and at all air bases – from the world’s highest battlefield Siachen Glacier to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The smartphone sets are being provided to the officers right after their commissioning, where the service number is put in as the last five or six digits of their official mobile number and “can be also be used to establish their identity”. The phones won’t bother the personnel when they are on leave as they can connect to the air force network only inside or near the air bases. “Even if some officer involved in the running of an airfield is not on seat, he can be contacted immediately at his location,” the officer said.
The IAF invested more than `300 crore for the creation of an exclusive mobile phone network. There have been cases where phones and computers of service personnel have been compromised by hacking groups backed by Pakistani spy agency ISI and Chinese hackers.
Personal laptop of an Army officer posted under the Andaman and Nicobar Command was compromised and spy agencies were alerted after they tracked the source of the leakage. However, by then, classified information had already been compromised by hackers.