What is Telegram?

February 3, 2021 | Privacy, Mobile, Web Applications
what is telegram

What is Telegram?

Telegram is a messaging app that many people have been talking about on the assumption that is more secure than WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) and downloading and installing in mass. However, there is a caveat to Telegram. By default your messages on Telegram ARE NOT secure. If Telegram was ever hacked so too would your messages. A court could also retrieve them with the right warrant or circumstances.  There is a way to change your settings on Telegram to make your messages ‘end-to-end’ secure. However, this is not a default setting.

To have an encrypted conversation you need to click on a users name in your contact list, click the three dots on the right, and select the option “start secret chat”.

This uses MTProto which is an encryption protocol that Telegram made up. It is not open-source and security researchers have yet to verify the claims it is totally secure.

So you may ask what is encrypted and secure?

The best competitive option we have found that is encrypted by default is Signal. A company founded by the founders of WhatsApp. (They sold it to Facebook in 2018 and ended up leaving to start Signal when the privacy interests of Facebook and the founders of WhatsApp started to diverge.)

Signal gained a ton of notoriety when Elon Musk tweeted ‘Use Signal’ back on January 7th after privacy policy changes impacting the security and privacy of WhatsApp were published.

Signal prioritizes the user’s privacy.  It uses the open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption which covers all forms of communication on Signal.

To take a step further Signal has created a layer called ‘Sealed Sender’ it conceals the meta-data of a user so even the company themselves is not aware of who is messaging who.

Some other neat features of the app include two-factor authentication to open the app, blocking of screen shots so the messages can’t be clipped and sent. More interesting they recently added a feature to blur faces automatically before sending a photo? I am not sure what purpose it serves but you can see if privacy is your concern Signal may be your best bet.

At My Computer Works we value privacy and security.

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