NEW DELHI: Telegram has emerged as a preferred destination for cybercriminals wishing to acquire or trade stolen user data and discuss hacking tools.
Telegram’s lack of moderation and secure servers has enticed cybercriminals from the dark web to use the encrypted messaging software. According to a joint investigation by The Financial Times and Cyberint, hackers on the network exchange stolen personal data with tens of thousands of users.
“We have recently seen a 100 percent or greater increase in Telegram usage by cybercriminals,” said Tal Samra, cyber security threat at Cyberint, in remarks to the Financial Times.
“Its encrypted messaging service is becoming increasingly popular with threat actors engaged in fraudulent activities and selling stolen data… since it is more simple to use than the dark web,” he added.
Telegram’s messaging application, which allows users to establish chat rooms with up to 200,000 individuals, has grown in popularity during the lockdown and now has 500 million active users. Concerns over data privacy on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, have spurred consumers to explore for alternatives.
However, vpnMentor, an internet security organisation, warned earlier this year that the app was a “safe harbour” for cybercrime.
“Cybercriminals are also flocking to Telegram to exchange and discuss big data leaks, exposing millions of users to unprecedented levels of online fraud, hacking, and attack,” the company warned.
A hacker exposed private data and account information from 2.28 million members on the Meet Mindful dating site on the dark web in January, and it later emerged on Telegram. Names, e-mail addresses, home addresses, and physical characteristics were made public.