Don’t Share Top Secret Information on the Internet, I&B Ministry Tells Officials

They were also told not to use digital assistants such as Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s HomePod and Google Home in the office and to disable digital assistants, including Alexa and Siri, in smartphones or watches.

They were also told not to use digital assistants such as Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s HomePod and Google Home in the office and to disable digital assistants, including Alexa and Siri, in smartphones or watches.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has banned the sharing of top secret or secret documents by its officials on the internet. They were also told not to use digital assistive devices such as Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s HomePod and Google Home in the office and to turn off digital assistants, including Alexa and Siri, in their smartphones or watches.

Officials are required to place their smartphones outside the meeting room when discussing classified matters, said the order which was issued in light of the discovery that a large number of government officials are using cellphones. private messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram for communication of classifieds. information. The ministry said such a practice violated departmental security instructions and national information security policy guidelines.

As a result, the ministry ordered that top secret and secret documents be shared only in a closed network with leased line connectivity where the Scientific Analysis Group (SAG) level encryption mechanism is deployed. The SAG falls under the Defense Research and Development Organization.

The order stated that confidential and restricted information could be shared over the Internet through networks with a commercial 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) mechanism. The ministry recommended the use of government email services or government instant messaging platforms such as Samvad from the Center for Development of Advanced Computing and Sandesh from the National Computing Center to communicate this information.

The ministry warned that the classification of top secret or secret information should not be downgraded to “confidential” or “restricted” for the purpose of sharing it on the internet.

“Appropriate Firewalls”

“In the context of the electronic office system, it is advisable to deploy appropriate firewalls and a whitelist of IP addresses. The e-office server is accessible through a virtual private network (VPN) for enhanced security,” he said, adding that top secret or secret information should only be shared on the e-office system with the closed network of the leased line and the SAG level. encryption mechanism.

For video conferencing for official purposes, facilities provided by government agencies should be used. Some additional precautions have been prescribed to ensure better safety. Even then, top secret or secret information cannot be shared via videoconference.

Officials working from home have been asked to use secure electronic devices, including laptops and desktop computers, connected to office servers through a VPN and firewall configuration. Top secret or secret information cannot be shared in the work-from-home environment, the ministry said.