British troops banned from WhatsApp immediately amid Russian hacking fears

UK soldiers could face strict disciplinary action if they're caught using WhatsApp, as the British Army moves to ban the app for active personnel.

Everyone from senior officers to low-ranking soldiers have been instructed to stop using WhatsApp for professional purposes due to "significant security concerns" surround the app.

According to the Daily Mail, an official Ministry of Defence memo insisted that "all Field Army personnel are to cease the use of WhatsApp for work-related communications immediately.

"WhatsApp should only ever be used as a method of last resort defined as: a means of communication which should only be used in circumstances where failure to do so would result in death, serious injury or operational compromise."

The ban is set to cover all voice calls and messaging, with troops being told to use Signal, an app similar to WhatsApp but with stronger security features that are favoured by MI6.

Conversations on the app are not backed up or stored unlike on WhatsApp, which means they're less at risk from prying eyes.

Government ministers including the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Defence Secretary are also under pressure to quit WhatsApp. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly a huge fan of the app despite security fears.

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WhatsApp has denied that chats can be intercepted by governments. Communications director Alison Bonny said: "WhatsApp protects your personal messages and calls with the industry-leading Signal protocol for end-to-end encryption. So they cannot be intercepted by any government."

However, the MoD clarified: "Alternative messaging apps can be more appropriate for work-related communication due to different types of security settings.

"We are not asking personnel to delete WhatsApp from their work phones and the advice is not linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine."

  • WhatsApp
  • British Army

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