India expands its crackdown on VPN, bans its employees from using VPN and cloud services

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India expands its crackdown on VPN, bans its employees from using VPN and cloud services
Representaional image.Unsplash
  • The Indian government has banned its employees from using virtual private networks (VPN).
  • The government has also asked employees to avoid storing confidential documents on non-government cloud services.
  • The government is currently at loggerheads with VPN service providers over its cybersecurity guidelines.
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The Indian government is currently at loggerheads with virtual private network (VPN) service providers over its cybersecurity guidelines. In a new directive, the government has banned its employees from using third-party VPNs.

According to an Economic Times report, the Indian government has banned its employees from using third-party VPN from companies like ExpressVPN, NordVPN and others.

This comes after companies like ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN announced that they are removing their servers from India over the government’s new cybersecurity guidelines that will go into effect from June 27.

The government had recently invited VPN service providers and other stakeholders to discuss the guidelines issued by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team’s (Cert-In).

Govt employees told not to store confidential data on third-party cloud services



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In addition to banning government employees from using VPN services, the directive has also urged employees to avoid saving any internal, restricted or confidential government data on non-government cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

The guidelines have reportedly been issued by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

“In order to sensitise the government employees and contractual/outsourced resources and build awareness amongst them on what to do and what not to do from a cyber security perspective, these guidelines have been compiled,” said the NIC document accessed by ET.

The document further directs employees not to “root” or “jailbreak” their smartphones. It has also directed employees to avoid using CamScanner to scan government documents. Interestingly, CamScanner was banned by the government along with other Chinese apps in June 2020.

“By following uniform cyber security guidelines in government offices across the country, the security posture of the government can be improved,” the directive added.

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