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The Indian government bans the Chinese App SHAREit because of Data Privacy Concerns

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SHAREit is a data-sharing app that helps people to share data from one device to another. This app is available for the majority of Operating Systems such as Android, iOS, and Windows. However, to share files, this app requires several permissions from the device. These permissions included network access, storage permission, location access, and even access to the camera and microphone. These permissions opened the device to several threats and privacy concerns. These concerns were one of the reasons for the Indian government to ban the app. 

It is a Chinese app deemed a security risk because of the several permissions it requires to work. After giving these permissions, the device becomes defenseless against the execution of arbitrary malicious code and data leaks. SHAREit was one of the 59 Chinese apps that the Indian government banned in June 2020 because of privacy and safety concerns. The Indian government’s official statement as a reason for this ban was that SHAREit can cause privacy risk for Indian users. 

The Indian government did not elaborate on the reasons for banning more than 250 Chinese apps in India. However, the government has accused most of these apps of sharing data of Indian users to offshore companies. A few cyber-tech companies have tried to study the reason for banning these apps, such as SHAREit. The reports concluded that these apps do cause some potential security risks for Indian users. 

The reports even mentioned that providing SHAREit with the permissions that it required to work can open your device to remote code execution (RCE). By running this code, the attacker can use the device’s vulnerability to hack and gain access to private data. 

“In the past, vulnerabilities that can be used to download and steal files from users’ devices have also been associated with the app. While the app allows the transfer and download of various file types, such as Android Package (APK), the vulnerabilities related to these features are most likely unintended flaws,” mentioned the report. 

In 2019, SHAREit partnered with several online streaming platforms to promote their video content on the app. Some of the OTT platforms that collaborated with the app were Hotstar, Airtel Wynk, and Viacom18. In recent years the Indian government has become strict regarding digital privacy concerns. These concerns led to a ban of over 250 Chinese apps, including a famous video streaming app TikTok among others.

Prajakta Kshirsagar is a Sr. Editor at The Entrepreneur Tab. She is also the Founder of Social Coverage Media, a 360 Digital Marketing Agency. She has spent around half of her career working with brands and businesses which were dominantly using classical mainline digital advertising and thinking.

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