Telegram identified as ISIS secret messaging app

Posted on November 24, 2015


It has been revealed that terrorist organisation ISIS has been using Telegram, a free app, to communicate with each other and distribute information.

The app, which is free and available on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, has a “secret chat” feature that was used by extremists not only to talk to each other, but to distribute materials such as Dabiq, the group’s magazine.

Tech site Motherboard reported on a blog post written by “the Grugq”, a security expert, which highlighted flaws in the app. He said:

“Telegram is error-prone, has wonky homebrew encryption, leaks voluminous metadata, steals the address book, and is now known as a terrorist hangout.

I couldn’t possibly think of a worse combination for a safe messenger.”

Upon hearing that the service was being used for the purposes of terrorism, Telegram moved swiftly, and blocked 78 ISIS-related accounts that spanned a dozen languages. A spokesman said:

“[The company was] disturbed to learn that Telegram’s public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda.”

Telegram also announced plans to make it easier to report “objectionable public content” in a forthcoming update to the app.

However, the company initially defended the fact that its app was accessible to terrorists back in September, with Pavel Durov, its founder, saying:

“I don’t think we should feel guilty about this. I still think we’re doing the right thing – protecting users’ privacy.”

However, the Grugq highlighted the fact that ISIS’ privacy had been compromised, noting that the group had signed up for the service using individual, unsecure mobile phone numbers.

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