The Indian government banned several Chinese apps, including VLC Media Player, six months ago, Indian Express reported. However, the Android version of the app is still available on Google Playstore and iOS App Store for existing users. New users are not allowed to download the app.

There has been a sharp increase in cases of cyberattacks in the country since the beginning of this year. More than 670,000 cases have been filed in India till June this year, Ajay Kuma Mishra, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, quoted in response to a question at Lok Sabha.

Personal computers and smartphones on which VLC media player is already installed do not experience any problem while running the application. However, the app is still accessible using VPN services. Moreover, the offline executable installer can still be installed on desktops and laptops, according to a report by Indian Express.

The application launched in France and developed by VideoLAN, has a very modular design, which allows it to include modules/plugins for new file formats, codecs, interfaces or streaming methods. It supports audio and video compression methods and file formats including Video CD, DVD-Video, and streaming protocols. It transcodes media files and streams media over computer networks.

The website stopped working a few months ago but was only noticed very late by the user.

Gagandeep Sapra, a Twitter user, displays through his tweet, the description a user gets when he tries to download the app. His tweet reads: “The website has been blocked in accordance with the order of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology under the Computers Act 2000”, as reported by IE.

According to Section 69A of the Computers Act 2000, the Union Government has the power to prohibit/restrict applications and websites which threaten the security, integrity and sovereignty of the nation, following a regular procedure.

VLC media player has been infiltrated with malware by a group of hackers named “Cicada” with Chinese links. Some reports mentioned the reason for the player’s ban — his connection to China. Indian user data was being sent overseas and cyberattacks were being launched in India.

Symantec cybersecurity researchers discover that the “Cicada group” installs malware on compromised devices using the VLC media player to target high-level dignitaries. Victims of cicadas have been found in India, the United States, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and several other countries around the world, Zee News quoted.

No official word has been received from the government. However, VideoLAN President Jean-Baptiste Kempf, commenting on the ban, said, “We have been banned since February 13 of this year and we don’t know why. We put the question to the Indian government, but we did not get an answer. as quoted by India Today.

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