With growing concern over Chinese espionage, Australia’s Department of Defence bans the use or download of popular Chinese micro-messaging app WeChat among its staff. With limited access of Facebook and other social media apps still allowed among the staff, the Chinese app is suspected to contain spyware bugs.
“Defense does not provide or support the use of unauthorized software, including the WeChat social media application, on Defense mobile devices,” a spokesperson is reported as saying to the media according to the report in Epoch Times. “WeChat does not provide end-to-end encryption between users, making messages vulnerable to third parties. In addition, all messages are stored on WeChat’s servers in China.” added the report.
It is reported that according to cybersecurity experts the concern over the Chinese app with more than 900 million users now expanding rapidly overseas stemmed from WeChat’s “higher ability to aggregate and monitor data“. In addition to Australia’s Department of Defence, India’s defence forces are also banned from using WeChat and 40 other Chinese apps since last December. The ban against these Chinese apps come out of fear that they could contain spyware or malicious bugs.
According to an earlier Amnesty International report, WeChat scored zero of 100, due to its lack of end-to-end encryption and failure to recognize threats or protect freedom of expression. In addition to Australia and India, Russia too banned the Chinese app since last May.