The Indian Army has announced the development and launch of its own secure messaging app. The smartphone messaging and communication service is called SAI, or Secure Application for Internet, and will be used for internal communication purposes. The smartphone app features end-to-end encryption to secure all communications, including texts, voice and video calls, and has been made live for Android devices at the moment. According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Defence, the SAI app has a flexible code base that can be programmed to specific needs of India’s armed forces, and all data will be relayed through local, in-house data servers.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the SAI app will feature an interface and operations similar to commercially available messaging services such as WhatsApp, Telegram and other encrypted communication apps. “The application has been vetted by a CERT-in empaneled auditor, and the Army Cyber Group. The Raksha Mantri, after reviewing the functionalities of the app, complimented Col. Sai Shankar for his skill and ingenuity for developing the application,” a ministry spokesperson said in the statement.
With cyber security measures taking centerstage in recent times, the SAI app will seemingly contribute to promoting secure communications in internal circles of India’s defence forces. End-to-end encryption, as has been widely noted, is a much-needed standard in communication apps to improve the level of security, with apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and others offering encrypted communication services to keep sensitive information inside a secure bubble.
With end-to-end encryption, conversations (including voice and video calls) are issued from one person’s end as an encrypted and hashed security code. This code is then relayed directly to the sender, making sure that the information is not decoded in between at the server-end. This ensures that malicious individuals cannot intercept the contents of a chat, thus keeping the information secure.
While hackers and cyber criminals are believed to have techniques to bypass end-to-end encryption by tricking individuals into downloading malware that reads screen content, the end-to-end encryption standard is still believed to be a benchmark standard in a secure communication app, which the SAI app is said to enable.