Are Telegram Messages Encrypted?
The popular messaging app, Telegram, has been a favorite among many users for its strong encryption and easy-to-use interface. However, the company has recently been in the news for a major security flaw that would allow hackers to intercept and read encrypted messages. This could have a serious impact on the security of millions of users. In this post, we will discuss whether or not this is a real threat in 2022 and if so, what you can do to protect yourself.
Is Telegram safe? Here’s what security experts have to say about the app
With no size restrictions on media files, end-to-end encryption through “secret chats,” and a massive 200k user group chat capacity, Telegram is a free messaging program that runs on many different platforms. Even better, the software offers a Bot API that lets programmers build custom chatbots.
Telegram is so certain that its messages cannot be decoded that it has actually held competitions in the past where users were encouraged to attempt to break its encryption for a chance to win $300k. Additionally, the app has a running bug bounty program that pays out to anyone who can find a serious fault in the Telegram app or protocol.
To find out more information about Telegram, end-to-end encryption, and how the software handles your data, we contacted security professionals. You can read our tutorials on Is WhatsApp Safe? and Other Messaging Apps if you’re curious about their opinions on those programs. & How safe is Signal?
While the software has been operating since 2013, Antony Demetriades, VP at McAfee, told Trusted Reviews that Telegram has only recently been more well-known.
You wouldn’t be alone, Demetriades remarked, if you hadn’t heard about Telegram until 2021.
In less than a year, the texting and social networking platform has grown from relative obscurity to rank among the industry’s top competitors for secret messaging. Many customers “jumped ship” in pursuit of a less disruptive texting option after WhatsApp disclosed a revision to its T&Cs that alerted users that personal data would be shared with new parent firm Meta.
Nevertheless, just because Telegram is more well-known for being reliable than WhatsApp doesn’t automatically make your messages secure. End-to-end encryption is essential for keeping your messages private, but Telegram only provides this level of security in a few select sections of the software.
“Telegram has established itself as a messaging service dedicated to private and secure communication. However, Telegram is not as secure as privacy-focused messaging services like Signal, which offers end-to-end encryption for all communications, because end-to-end encryption is not employed automatically on messages sent through Telegram, according to Demetriades.
Dr. Gareth Owenson, CTO and co-founder of Searchlight Security, warned that Telegram’s encryption had weaknesses as well.
“Telegram is known for being a secure messaging service, although this is more so because of the feature set it provides than because of the robust encryption. Recently, Royal Holloway’s research uncovered flaws in Telegram’s cryptography, according to Dr. Owenson.
Telegram vs other messaging apps
How does Telegram stack up against other well-known messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Signal? Technically, there is a clear winner, according to Fennel Aurora, global partner product advocate for F-Secure.
The signal is largely what I use personally and is widely regarded as the security and privacy standard for this type of communication tool, according to Aurora.
Yet, depending on your definition, there are instances when Signal can be less safe and less private. For instance, because Signal requires the use of a mobile number for connection with other participants, many persons who are the targets of stalkers may face serious physical safety hazards. For many people, it can be far safer to use a username, as Telegram for instance enables.
In addition, Telegram asks users to opt-in to end-to-end encryption by setting up a secret chat, according to Comparitech Privacy Advocate Paul Bischoff. The absence of end-to-end encryption by design may be a privacy concern in and of itself.
Chats on Telegram are not by default end-to-end encrypted. Chats that are encrypted cannot be accessed from various devices, according to Bischoff, who said that although this does make them more secure than WhatsApp, it also makes them less convenient.
The telegram contains bots, which are strong tools but may be used for scams and cyberattacks, Bischoff continued, adding that all three applications have over the years demonstrated known cybersecurity flaws.
According to Tom Gaffney, Security Expert at F-Secure, Telegram sometimes handles data similarly to WhatsApp.
According to Gaffney, “WhatsApp and Telegram also work by developing user communities and gathering user-related device-related data (phone numbers, device info, etc.) utilizing fingerprinting.
“Hackers also target all these platforms for phishing URLs and scams. As its encryption technique forces you to affirmatively allow another user before messaging, Signal by default makes this considerably more challenging.
In the end, Gaffney would advise against choosing Telegram over services like Signal.”Both WhatsApp and Telegram have a contentious history with user data. Both were linked to the Snowden revelations, and neither has offered any proof of an impartial code audit or security assessment. They have ambiguous data usage conditions, and in the case of WhatsApp, Facebook, the parent firm, makes the majority of its money from using the data it collects. Therefore, from a privacy standpoint, Signal is not at all secure. They are not recommended by security firms like F-Secure for messaging that is genuinely private and confidential.
Telegram and your data
We also questioned the experts on how Telegram actually manages your data.
Your information will be kept in “rented” data centers in the Netherlands if you signup for Telegram in the UK, according to Demetriades.
As a result, personal information is not shared with the data centers; rather, it is stored utilizing the servers and is managed by third parties who rent space to Telegram. All data is stored with high encryption, in accordance with the platform’s privacy regulations, to prevent access by local Telegram engineers or physical attackers.
Users will also welcome the fact that the software doesn’t display advertisements in chats, according to Duncan Brown, VP of European Enterprise Research at IDC, who spoke with Trusted.
“The business has pledged never to market to users in private discussions,”
Should you move your chats to Telegram?
Everyone we spoke to agreed that while it is safe to switch your discussions to Telegram, Signal is preferable.
“While end-to-end encrypted for private chats are available in Telegram, you cannot encrypt group chats, one of the most well-liked features of the service. However, there are undoubtedly better solutions available if you’re seeking for top-notch end-to-end encrypted messaging software, according to Demetriades.
Although Signal is less well-known than other messaging services, Chris Hauk, User Privacy Champion at Pixel Privacy, pointed out that if Telegram is where all of your contacts are, you might be persuaded to switch over if Signal is less popular.
Many users don’t care about the privacy features offered by their messaging apps, instead choosing to use the messaging apps that their friends and family.
While also urging their friends and family to use the applications, anyone who chats about more than “do we need milk?” should think about utilizing one of the 3 messaging services (Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp).
Additionally, if you already use Telegram, there is no justification to stop, according to Brown.
“Geopolitical actions, such as bans and penalties, can affect any communication program, and Telegram has experienced these throughout the years. However, Telegram is secure and reliable right now. Telegram should be a secure option for you if you’re concerned about data sharing.
In conclusion, it’s not easy to find the Are Telegram Messages Encrypted? You can also read Why GBWhatsApp Is Not Safe?