I don't think this post is fair in its assessment and seems more like an advertisement for Telegram, which itself has its own security issues (like lacking E2E encryption by default and terrible code quality).
If I had to put a backdoor in something, it'd definitely be a buffer overflow. It gives full remote code execution, it may be hard enough to find to be NOBUS, and it has perfect plausible deniability.
But since there are probably a lot more accidential security flaws than backdoors, I agree that erring on the side of stupidity is justified.
As an aside, this isn’t true. There are many things right in front of us that we dismiss routinely, and “everyone knows” these things are extraordinary/insane/wrong and so on. Usually, if you spend the time to learn about such things you can discover that they’re very normal and provable, you just have to go against the crowd. That’s different from needing extraordinary evidence.
Primarily this seems to be due to disinformation efforts and plain old human biases.
Furthermore, they frequently "ban" channels that they deem contain "inappropriate" or "adult" content. Clearly they're reviewed by either humans or AI of some sort. So... that makes me uncomfortable.
Their reason for why you can trust them with encryption keys was "we didn't hand them over to <insert country here> and so they banned us where we could have cooperated and continued to have operating in said country", which seems like a pretty weak argument.
For truly decentralised, private and encrypted communication, I highly recommend matrix+riot.im.
> To support this idea, Pavel Durov claims that Telegram is banned in Russia and Iran, where both governments asked him for encryption keys to access the platform’s messages. Hence for refusing the proposal given by the governments of those countries, the app was banned.
Even if telegram hasn't handed over keys so far, the fact remains that the keys are still controlled by them and tomorrow if they wished they could read/expose/publish/share all "private" communication.
Think of it this way. If Bezos had been using telegram like is recommended in the article and the CEO of telegram wanted to spy on Bezos' chats, he would have totally been able to.
They say that chats don't have e2e by default so that they can be backed up to the cloud , but there's no reason why you can't back up encrypted chats and ask the user for a pin and decrypt them on-device.
Furthermore, telegram forces you to link your account with a phone number, and that acts as the primary (or only) form of authentication, opening you up to sim-jacking.
Also, this means that anyone who has your phone number is told you're on the app and given your username, which you may not want for privacy reasons.
Needless to say, our users lost trust and we couldn't risk this happening again.
We still run the service(from request of a few existing users) but not actively promoting it.
Yes, but they take steps to ensure they cannot easily be forced to decrypt chats via a court order in a single country. From the Telegram FAQ:
To protect the data that is not covered by end-to-end encryption, Telegram uses a distributed infrastructure. Cloud chat data is stored in multiple data centers around the globe that are controlled by different legal entities spread across different jurisdictions. The relevant decryption keys are split into parts and are never kept in the same place as the data they protect. As a result, several court orders from different jurisdictions are required to force us to give up any data.
> Furthermore, they frequently "ban" channels that they deem contain "inappropriate" or "adult" content. Clearly they're reviewed by either humans or AI of some sort. So... that makes me uncomfortable.
AFAIK messages are only forwarded to Telegram support if they are reported by users. Chats spreading pornographic content are often banned on iOS due to the App Store guidelines (and in certain countries due to local laws), but illegal channels (e.g. CP) may be blocked globally.
> Also, this means that anyone who has your phone number is told you're on the app and given your username, which you may not want for privacy reasons.
This is not true anymore, a while ago they added new privacy settings that allow you to prevent others from finding you unless they are in your Telegram contact list. (Of course, this means if you don't want anyone in your phone's contacts to be able to find you on Telegram, you should deny the app contacts permission.)
How can we as users be certain that they wouldn't decrypt our chats anyway, contrary to their stated policy?
As long as they have the technical capacity to decrypt my chats, I wouldn't feel secure on their platform, no matter what they say.
Again, this is just what they claim. Doesn't mean they don't read chats because they feel like it. And this doesn't mean that they won't cooperate with other entities in the future. Or that the keys won't get leaked.
Your data being encrypted is pointless if it's stored one someone else's servers, and they have the keys to it.
I see no reason why open source helps here. Closed source clients aren't black boxes. You can examine the bytecode. You can decompile the binaries.
I see no reason why a conspiracy dedicated enough to hide a backdoor as a buffer overrun wouldn't also be capable of making the Telegram server store key material in a single country to make it available to legal requests (since, as you say. the back-end software isn't open source).
Open source doesn't make things automatically secure, but one can't argue that it isn't much easier to inspect.
Bytecode is basically the same as source. Decompiled binaries are harder to read, but there are oodles of professionals who are very skilled at reading decompiled code. The actual structure of the program itself plays (to me) a much bigger role in the auditability of a system.
Signal is the gold standard for confidentiality, but forcing folks to disclose a phone number as a primary identifier has privacy issues.
But for me Telegram and Signal are equally insecure because they don't allow anonymous accounts without a phone number. Using phone number for authentication is insecure because it is very easy to intercept SMS messages, especially if you are a telecom or the government. You better avoid using such messengers and not support them unless you want to provide your ID in future for registration on any website.
The other thing is that Telegram is just far more feature rich. It feels like what you’d like expect from a modern messaging app.
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about this all, though, is that third party devs can’t make their own Signal clients to try to improve the situation. If you want to use Signal, you have to take it with all of its warts, and that’s a hard sell.
Linking phone or use it for 2FA should be like red light today. For Telegram, banking app, don't matter.
Also interesting is to see that it has been adopted by the French government: https://lwn.net/Articles/779331/
Edit: also, telegram doesn't support e2e encrypted group chats, unlike riot.
Telegram: we do E2E!* That makes us MORE SECURE than other messengers!
Matrix: you can enable E2E if you want.
* just not by default†
† unless you count "E2E" security between your client and our servers,‡ which we'll confusingly highlight in our security documentation as if it were special††
‡ you don't really need E2E anyway because we store your data in shell companies across the world
†† I guess it is "special" because Telegram invented its own crypto algorithms?
I'd like Telegram a lot more if they would stop with their bullshit claims, because it's actually a good service for some usecases. While reading the article I was hoping it was just written by a clueless Telegram fanboy, but reality is disappointing…
But in terms of getting less technical people on board (frankly, often the sort to go to WA anyhow), I deeply suggest Signal.
They have a web version anyway and with Electron for desktop and webview for mobile, they can concentrate on the responsive single design instead of hiring different talents to communicate with each others left and right to slow down their development with inconsistencies.
TBH I don't know how other secure messaging programs like Signal or Wire handle the multi-device history issue.
I guess they could enable E2E encryption in private messages but being able to sync conversation across different telegram clients you are logged into is one of the features. Enabling E2E encryption by default will probably break this. I guess they could try and implement it like Signal has done for Private messages but I don't know why they have not done that already.
All of the other products have some other priorities, and so if security gets in the way, too bad security loses. Even WhatsApp, which uses the Signal protocol, has other priorities so the actual client software isn't focused on security, they were just happy to get a secure protocol out of the box.
The interesting thing is that years of research hasn't found many things that are just plain impossible securely, there are just a lot of unknowns or places where the secure option is harder. For example when you add a popcorn GIF to a chat Signal proxies this twice, masking your request from the GIF provider (Somebody used a popcorn GIF but the GIF provider doesn't learn who) and also from Signal's own servers (ishanjain28 used a GIF but Signal doesn't learn which one). Most outfits wouldn't bother, who cares about security anyway? But the feature now just works, without unnecessarily giving away information to people you might not trust.
That is completely ridiculous and if that is the reason Telegram is policing adult content then Telegram is ran by idiots. You can use any IM app to share adult content, there are plenty of groups on Whatsapp sharing porn, there are plenty of groups in iMessage sharing porn, there are porn accounts on Instagram and twitter, hell the entire reason snapchat even exists is so that you can send self destructing nudes to people.
The idea that an app will be banned due to content shared with people using the app, and not uploaded and/or hosted on some public website accessible to anyone (CP on tumblr) sounds completely ridiculous to me.
A thought: I hear that most of the complaints about “adult” TV channels crossing the line from “broadcastable” to “violating obscenity laws” are made by their competitors. Perhaps a similar thing happens here? That at least one of Telegram’s competitors constantly look for reasons to get them blocked from the App Store?
And it would be mostly due to public perception. Telegram is "used by terrorists because secret encryption" and already seen as suspicious.
Yes they will, if they're on channels (which are considered public).
Not only are Whatsapp groups and Snapchat chats are considered private, those companies have much more clout (and lawyers) than Telegram. Facebook threatening to remove Instagram/Facebook/Whatsapp from iOS would hurt Apple more than Facebook.
Side note: Even lists with no adult content, but referring to adult activities get banned. The creator of an app listing Burning Man events had to remove all references to adult workshops or get the banhammer. Apple's walled garden, Apple's rules (sigh).
- Instagram is stock full of sexual content
- A ton of cam models have private snapchat accounts where they share porn of themselves
- Reddit is basically a cornucopia of porn
- I can subscribe to a porn email list
- Share nudes to a group of friends on Facebook or even SMS
- I can join a hundred Discord channel to satisfy every single weird ass fetish I have,
- I can outright buy porn from Amazon and have it home delivered in 30 minutes.
And that's just from the top of my head. I'm sure you can find a metric ton of other apps that provide their users with easy access to sexual content. None of those apps will be banned for it since that is not the primary purpose of any of these apps. It's simply something that you're able to do with the tools provided. This is like banning all knives just because someone got stabbed.
If your plan is to ban apps that provide access to pornographic content, then you're gonna have to do a lot of banning.
Tumblr itself wasn't banned for porn, it was banned for child porn https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/20/18104366/tumblr-ios-app-...
I would also argue that a public blogsite where tagging and discovering new content is one of the key selling points of the platform, is very different from a Telegram channel where you need to specifically know the channel name to even join. As long as Telegram puts forth their best effort to eliminate illegal content from channels, they should be fine.
You are trying to find a reasoning in Apple's decisions, but isn't it easier to assume that not all apps are equally welcome in a private app store?
Telegram folks are just afraid that obscenity laws will be used against them by officially-not-censoring-but-actually-pretty-curious-about-everyone's-communications governments, like UK, France, Italy, and so on. "Oh, you cannot police your underage nudes? Law says we have to do it then, hand over the keys or shut it all down. We will absolutely not use these keys for anything else, honestly, uh-uh..."
That's the charitable reading that doesn't insult anyone's intelligence. I still don't particularly trust Telegram not to cooperate with authorities anyway - any centralized model is doomed to, at some point.
My understanding was that it isn't Telegram that bans them, but Apple that doesn't let certain channels be shown in the iOS app. Android and the web version show all channels.
As to the rest of the app's quality, no idea. I use it on my phone and it seems OK, but I've not really dug into it.
If not, it's fine.
If you do, why are you using these sorts of technologies in the first place?
You can disable that behavior in your privacy settings iirc
Really? I just went there recently, and nearly everyone used Telegram as their primary messaging application (other than Instagram)
I still never ended up using it, have too many messaging apps as it is. It's really sad how much that can limit staying in touch with international friends though.
If you are uncomfortable about content being read by humans -- (they claim) that only happens for public channels (open for anyone to read/search)
Or to sum up:
"Briar is a messaging app designed for activists, journalists, and anyone else who needs a safe, easy and robust way to communicate. Unlike traditional messaging tools such as email, Twitter or Telegram, Briar doesn't rely on a central server - messages are synchronized directly between the users' devices. If the Internet's down, Briar can sync via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, keeping the information flowing in a crisis. If the Internet's up, Briar can sync via the Tor network, protecting users and their relationships from surveillance."
I am not a whatsapp fanboy, but I strongly doubt that these flaws were designed, and to call them "backdoors" is hyperbole.
I also am sure that the only reason we know about this backdoor is because Bezos was blackmailed.
I am in no doubt that nation states have a cache of exploits for signal, telgram, facebook messenger and whatsapp.
I take my chances with Signal instead. Unfortunately, enticing all of my contacts to do the same has proven difficult.
An aside: is anyone else disturbed by the fact that Whatsapp now shows the Facebook logo when you first open the app? The day the Facebook Messenger/Instagram/Whatsapp merge happens is the day I'm deleting Whatsapp.
I'm disturbed because I dislike facebook, but reality hasn't changed – only become more visible. That's good. Especially for people who aren't savvy enough to already know FB owns whatsapp.
Telegram crypto was redone, and is now using standard primitives. You can verify it at high level at https://core.telegram.org/mtproto or low level if you'd like to check sourcecode in their github. BTW, telegram has reproducible builds since last year.
I'm tired of people repeating 7 years old meme without verification.
At best, the Telegram developers are well meaning but have demonstrated in previous versions of MTProto that they lack a background in cryptography or a desire to consult experts. And their public face—posts like this one—seem often to be hyperbolic attacks on competitors, which is not a great look.
I’m not a cryptographer, so I’m not going to review the current MTProto. I hope it’s awesome and bug-free. But some skepticism seems warranted.
Also, when you use the secret chat feature does that now support multiple clients or does it still establish a secret chat with a random recipient client over which neither initiator nor receiver can control?
My guess it was for the "I don't use Facebook, I just use Instagram" crowd.
Same for Instagram. I’m wondering if FB is trying to gain positive PR by highlighting the association. Or if it’s an upcoming regulatory requirement.
Whatsapp and Instagram are already owned by Facebook - that is, as far as I understand, they have already merged.
The company testing his device were poorly equipped (skills wise) to perform such an analysis and basically chose the answer they wanted with weak to no real evidence.
The comment about e2e making it virtually impossible to know what was in the payload immediately put me off anything they said; they had the end of the e2e in their hands and thus everything they needed to decrypt the payload.
Someone posted a wrapper script proving all the tools needed already existed.
The article is based on that report and thus is immediately unfounded speculation.
That's what gets me, why are people thinking that they can thwart state level actors with any of this stuff? It's just incredibly naive.
If you want to cheat on your wife, you're good. (Provided your mistress is not an idiot).
But if you're trying to hide something from your government just do yourself a favor and never let that information touch the net in the first place.
Well after listening to the Darknet diaries podcast regularly, and reading about Stuxnet, I'm pretty convinced nothing is outside the realm of possibility and we doubt these things at our own peril.
The Telegram author may be biased, but learning these facts is still useful. I'm in the same boat re: Signal - want to use it more broadly but can't get others to....
You can have a healthy debate about whether Telegram is a better option than WhatsApp for the average Joe (I don't think it is, but that's just my opinion). Jeff Bezos is not the average Joe.
The idea Telegram somehow offers people like Bezos more protection than WhatsApp from nation state attacks is crazy. Pavel Durov is irresponsible for suggesting otherwise.
If you're a Bezos level target and Saudi Arabia wants your messages to blackmail you, they will get them. This is a country with effectively unlimited resources and no moral qualms. The app you're using is irrelevant.
I found this, I think that’s what is being referred to.
Just yesterday I've visited Off-facebook activity and was very surprised to find there information that I though nobody could trace back to me. And I believe it's only tip of an iceberg. Probably there wasn't even direct wiretapping - it was guessed by comparing some patterns of my checkins or pages I've browsed.
Still, I don't believe Telegram and Pavel Durov. Also, the first story I've read about this case mentioned only Telegram. I'm not sure I can find it now - it was almost one year ago - it's long gone from my browsing history.
I'm a big fan of Telegram for its top notch bot support, but I'm flagging this submission.
Do you trust claims made by Facebook about privacy and encryption?
I trust facebook that when they say something is E2E encrypted, it really is (except in the case of targeted attacks). If it weren't, I would expect an internal whistleblower to very quickly report it.
Since both client and server side are proprietary, it can't be proven that the OpenWhisper implementation wasn't tampered with. and it's very disheartening to see Signal licking WhatsApp's metaphorical feet every step of the way.
Reading bytecode is trivial. Reading decompiled binaries is even not so bad. Hiding some tampering of the protocol in closed source clients is not that much easier than hiding it in open source clients. Especially if tens of thousands of engineers have access to the whatsapp source and change history and a deliberate backdoor would be international news.
Besides, security and privacy should be the default. It's not like the user experience of WhatsApp is drastically worse for having E2E.
> Besides, security and privacy should be the default.
Not at the cost of usability and freedom. Especially considering E2E encryption isn't necessary to protect against the attackers most people can expect.
> It's not like the user experience of WhatsApp is drastically worse for having E2E.
It absolutely is. WhatsApp doesn't even allow you to use multiple devices!
> It absolutely is. WhatsApp doesn't even allow you to use multiple devices!
I'm pretty sure you couldn't use multiple devices before they implemented E2E.
By the way, how does E2E cost freedom?
Not saying telegram is better. But this is a common use-case for whatsapp. (Whatsapp web transports all history).
So the E2EE argument is disingenuous if the client is closed imo.
The case for whatsapp web is absolutely true- and you can’t say that it 100% doesn’t have any remote admin features, because it’s closed.
EDIT: I'd like to clarify; many people's reasoning seems to be:
"Whatsapp == Signal" && "Signal > *"
But that's not at all true.
To my knowledge, that's not true. But even if true, that doesn't mean e2e encryption isn't in effect.
> The case for whatsapp web is absolutely true
The web interface is completely driven by your phone, acting as a remote control and WhatsApp still doesn't have access to your conversations.
https://signal.org uses the exact same model and it's open source, so you can review it.
It is true that WhatsApp being proprietary, Facebook could insert local content scanners that bypasses e2e encryption. Which they actually threatened to do in the past, not sure what the status of that is.
But in spite of this, WhatsApp is still much better than any other service that doesn't do e2e encryption by default. Yes, I'd prefer Signal.org personally, but it's not what my acquaintances use ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And I'll never use Telegram, unless it reaches FB Messenger levels of popularity.
It's not true. I just recently switched phones. If you activate your phone on the app, you can't use the app on your previous phone without authenticating again, and it only shows your local history. I lost all my history when moving phones, as I chose not to back up my messages (who would?).
The trick is to use the local backup option (it's encrypted with a key from the whatsapp servers, but all the files are kept on your device), and use syncthing to copy the whole folder structure (containing the backup and the media) to the new phone before installing whatsapp. When first run, the whatsapp client detects the presence of that backup, asks whether you want to use it, gets the key from the whatsapp servers (after you authenticate your account), and restores the backup.
(By the way, Signal can do the same trick, but it's slightly less user-friendly: the encryption key does not come from the signal servers, it's a sequence of numbers you have to write down and type on the new phone.)
> https://signal.org uses the exact same model and it's open source, so you can review it.
To be clear, Signal's desktop interface does not work like WhatsApp's web interface: Signal is not completely driven by your phone. Signal Desktop can still send and receive messages even if the phone it is tied to is completely off.
I might have misunderstood what you're trying to say, but wanted to clarify this.
This is not true on Android. You cannot activate WhatsApp on 2 phones at once. If you try, the first will instantly deactivate and will not do any copying of messages. Message restore is from Google Drive backups. There is also a way to backup to a file, but it's an unsupported hack.
But I went ahead with the article and it's just marketing spiel for Telegram. Basically based around FUD.
- Telegram offers opensource clients and WhatsApp doesn't.
- Casts doubt about the actual implementation of E2E encryption in WhatsApp. And his claim of "you can't be sure" is actually pretty wrong. There have been open-source clients (of limited success) but they still prove that it is indeed at least implemented.
- I think the author is missing the fact that WhatsApp's encryption is, technically, documented in a whitepaper that highlights all of the protocol and how to different tokens and keys are generated and recycled. Because he clearly thinks Telegram is the only one to document its encryption.
Overall, I love Telegram, I use it daily. I don't mind the lack of demonstrable privacy, because I really don't need it for what I do on Telegram. It's convenient and I love the cross-platform TRUE clients, none of that webapp packaging stuff (Seriously the QT client is amazing). But this is almost all wrong ...
“Telegram's security model has received notable criticism by cryptography experts. They criticized the general security model of permanently storing all contacts, messages and media together with their decryption keys on its servers by default and by not enabling end-to-end encryption for messages by default.”
- This kind of vulnerability could happen in any app, including Telegram (similar issue also happened in the past with iMessage)
- WhatsApp conversations are all end-to-end encrypted by default, Telegram does not (have to explicitely create "secret chat")
- If this vulnerability used privilege escalation to access some data outside WhatsApp, iOS indeed had additional vulnerability (and Android too)
However, this still lets Telegram decrypt people's messages (on the default setting), which makes it less secure than WhatsApp and Signal.
The article itself is riddled with FUD about WhatsApp, and the author has written similar FUD/unfounded claims before.
Again, there is no proof OpenWhisper wasn't tampered with. It'd take WhatsApp becoming Free Software and having independent audits to be reliable as a communications platform. Suspiscion is but a matter of survival, and chances will continue to be usually against the most vulnerable party: the users.
But reading closed source code isn't hard. Most of whatsapp on android is implemented in dalvik bytecode, which is basically like reading source without good names or comments. And there are piles of professionals who are very skilled at reading decompiled binaries for the native code in the app. The idea that oss code is easy to verify and closed source code is impossible to verify is just bogus.
Telegram supports end-to-end encryption only in 1:1 private chats.
End-to-end encryption is disabled by default.
Telegram does not support end-to-end encryption, at all for group chats, its most popular use case.
Instead, Telegram claims that those group chats are "encrypted" by dint of the TLS connection between Telegram clients and the Telegram servers, which can, in this model, read all group traffic.
People like to dunk on the weirdness of the limited E2E crypto Telegram does have; it's archaic and idiosyncratic and people have published research results about it, though none to my understanding are of real practical impact. I support people dunking on bad crypto. But that has nothing to do with why Telegram is an inferior secure messenger.
By comparison, Signal, which Durov has repeatedly talked down:
* has modern, ratchet-based forward secure end-to-end crypto, always, in both group and private messaging;
* won the Levchin Prize, refereed by some of best-known names in academic cryptography, for the design and implementation of that cryptosystem, as well as for its implementation at WhatsApp;
* ha repeatedly foregone basic messaging app features simply to avoid collecting user metadata; Signal didn't even have user profiles until they could figure out a way to implement it in a privacy-preserving manner, and even their GIF sharing feature has a purpose-built anonymity system; we'll only this year potentially get usernames instead of phone numbers because it took that long to design a trustworthy social graph that didn't leave Signal with a giant pile of subpoenable metadata.
Use whatever messaging app you want.
But then I looked at the flaws, and that definitely raises questions. At least two of the flaws are in mp4 parsing done by WhatsApp itself, while both Android and iOS provide hardened platform tools for that.
There are two reasons you would want to do that:
- Increase security. Yeah that's a bit paradoxal considering what I said before, but it is possible you could want to do that, because Android devices are barely updated, and even though the mp4 parsing is hardened, there are known not fixed flaws on many devices.
If that was the intent, then the very first thing they would have done, is have this run inside a dedicated sandboxed process (Android allows that pretty easily), with no access to either the data or the internet.
Or they could have written it in a managed language, where the worst case of failed parsing is crashing/DoS-ing.
Or they could do it in rust of course :-)
- Increase compatibility with a wider range of mp4 files. As far as I know, mp4 support of those platforms should be good enough for most cases, but ok, let's say such a case exist, that means that they don't actually care about the security. As Durov say, they are using "end-to-end encryption" to say they are secured, but don't seem to care much past that.
I'm still not convinced those are actual purpose-built backdoors, but I will at least agree that security doesn't seem to be a core value of WhatsApp.
Considering that, I can completely see why WhatsApp decided to bundle their own libraries.
Though yeah, I'd personally rather go to ExoPlayer to have a managed, maintained solution that already contains most fucked up hardware workarounds you might need.
Sure it's not cross-platform, but just define a high-level player api, use iOS' native player, ExoPlayer on Android, vlc on other platforms, and you're good to go.
As for "sticking untrusted data into platform media api's", well the power consumption of reading a video with CPU is absurdly high. You'd be going from 6 hours view time on a standard smartphone to 2 I'd say? You could decide that you value security /that much/. But then if you do, the very first thing to do is to run the player in a dedicated isolated process.
I doubt WhatsApp is doing software video decoding, but if they are, it is all the more ridiculous.
I imagine this choice was made at least partly for consistency across platforms, because WhatsApp supports a lot of devices and OS versions. You can use the current apps on Android back to 2.3.7 (2011) and on iOS 8+ (2014).
Until 2018, WhatsApp also ran on BlackBerry 7+ (2011).
Yeah and well known to be a cryptographically poor.
I know a lot of people who use telegram over whatsapp because it's more secure.
2016 (corrected from 2019): https://gizmodo.com/why-you-should-stop-using-telegram-right...
2019: lmao https://twitter.com/durumcrustulum/status/116034777473242316...
p.s. and is based on information which in 2020 is not anymore actual as most things were corrected.
Got a citation for this? I'm having a hard time finding it:
> p.s. and is based on information which in 2020 is not anymore actual as most things were corrected.
(1) homegrown encryption which hasn't been extensively audited, which should be considered suspect by default because it's usually broken.
(2) Most chats are not encrypted at all.
ad1: starting from quite a long time, secret chats use MTProto 2.0 which is build on stanard crypto primitives you're seeing everywhere. Read it here high level: https://core.telegram.org/api/end-to-end and free to verify on github.
ad2: this is not true, and is discussion about user choice, not security.
please do not spread false old information. world changes.
Chats are in fact encrypted in non-Secret chats, just to the server and not e2e.
Please, people, don't contribute to misinformation.
(1) I don't see any review by cryptographers that MTProto 2.0 is safer. Where is the evidence?
(2) Unless this is also a recent change, it is true. It's not about choice really, it's about the default behavior, since most users won't choose.
There's zero technical reason why I can't have a silo'd list of contacts WITHIN WhatsApp. Facebook knows it. Fuck them.
I am dismayed to find that my new Android phone no longer has this feature, except as part of some bullshit "work profile" nonsense that apparently isn't possible for me to set up by myself, on my own phone. "You'll need a code from your IT admin", I'm told, and "a management tool will be downloaded and used by your IT admin to manage your work profile". Great.
Contact list access is literally THE thing that makes WhatsApp valuable to Facebook. You lock down that and they are now staring at a massive hosting bill with nothing in return.
Knowing that I discuss everyday with X, is more interesting than to know that I somehow have the phone number of A,B,C,D...X,Y,Z.
But yeah I agree that's not surprising. When I personnally hit this issue I was like "ain't that a good old facebook product behind all that fresh paint"
Sounds misleading no? Should rather say: no issues of that severity "reported" in the last 6 years.
If I was him, I would have spent a couple million rolling my own, with gateways to web, email, and SMS.
E2E is not by default and terrible UX to make people think they have secure communication
But if a full-phone exploit is possible using the app, isn't that inherently an iOS/Android bug?
My understanding is that that an application should not have full access to the system.
I would expect that even if it were hacked/acting maliciously all you could pull is what the app already has access to.
Did they stack an iOS exploit on top of a WhatsApp bug?
(Using WhatsApp for remote execution, then a privilege escalation of some sort?)
(2) There is no way to disable their calling service. I don't want people to call me on WhatsApp.
(3) If you've chosen not to give them your contact book, they have worsened the UX over time (for example, it only shows phone numbers now and not the display names they have set).
Adding to this, you also cannot initiate a first (new) message to anyone unless you have granted contact access. The workaround is to ask the other person to message you first...
Maybe the author says "of that severity" because he keeps adding "the richest man on the planet" there, but most people in Brazil wouldn't agree with him.
He sure have heard about Operation Car Wash and how it took an "arrow in the knee" after dozens of Telegram leaks?
One source between various others with a bit more info on the tech side: "Telegram voicemail hack used towards Brazil’s president, ministers"
I agree Telegram's UX could be better but the app isn't to blame if technologically illiterate users are relying on it to circulate high profile confidential info.
Native media reported that the hackers used entry to the accounts to ship spam messages with malicious hyperlinks to customers’ contacts."
Good ol' phishing.
One thing they (mainstream media) failed to mention is they were indeed victims of sim-jacking as well, if ever by simple link phishing. That was througly described by the victims themselves at Congress investigative sessions.
Sadly, in Brazil the current mainstream media is mostly biased towards the previous government and all the people that was arrested by the Car Wash Operation. They won't openly say it ever (in here they're not as transparent as US ones, for example - and the Operation is probably one of the most popular events ever in the country's history), but the ones at mainstream media that won their place last 20 years' government just want their corrupt politicians back in power.
To say the victims there were hacked because they clicked suspicious links by their own will it's not only convenient, but what they actually want the broad population to believe.
For a guy who made telegram,I would expect a much more technical and objective post instead of ad-hominem based compariaons where the solution is his own product (feels dishonest since there are plenty of alternatives as well)
But Mr Durov aside, of course you shouldn't use anything facebbook touched! Just like you shouldn't trust a convicted arsonist to build a house compliant with fire code regardless of talent and reputation.
Even if Pavel Durov say that Telegram has verifiable builds and open source client, as long as you're not in control of the whole chain (server+client), you're not in control at all. Even with e2e, an adverse party can always have access to lots of metadata, or with vulnerabilities as disclosed in this blog post, get access to the actual content.
Now that OMEMO is widespread in the XMPP world, I try to push in that direction, but as an other user has said, the hardest part is to get users to move to your "new" solution.
Other people just don't care as much...
- There evidence for Bezos's phone being hacked is pretty poor.
- The "backdoor" was not a backdoor. It was an ordinary bug. Whatsapp cannot pledge to not make mistakes. He can claim that it was deliberate all he likes but he doesn't have any actual evidence.
- Other apps have bugs too. Telegram may have fewer but that's because it has far fewer users. They claim 100 million. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion.
Now I'll plug my friends company as an alternative for secure messaging (and because I like purple UIs) https://www.cyph.com/
Facebook has decided a B2B sort of model for bots for this specific purpose
No one's going to make them use bots against their will.
> Telegram has bots and lot of it is just spam.
Bots can't even initiate conversations.
> Facebook has decided a B2B sort of model for bots for this specific purpose
Which almost certainly will be used for Spam because that's Facebook's line of business.
The intelligent discussion and criticism at the beginning of the article quickly derailed into ‘this is why you should use our product.’
If it was written by a third party, I’d be able to take it at face value.
I was speaking with a friend who's often pushed me towards Signal. For context: I left Signal because of Moxie. The usability concerns and terrible Electron desktop apps didn't help but Moxie's attitude and the fact that he's just not rich enough to be free of gov/corp influence were my motivating factors. He fought us for dropping dependency on Google Play Services, refuses to allow 3rd party distribution, and is anti-federation.
I've been having a back and forth with Telegram over email since the events of last night. It's... interesting. (last response was a couple minutes ago)
So last night, I was speaking with this friend and he remarked that he used a burner to register his Telegram number, he was expected it to be banned at any time. I was in the middle of typing back to him "I wouldn't worry, so long as the account is active" and my account was instantly banned before I could hit send. I was trying to provide him this re-assurance because I use Telegram with a Google Voice number instead of a carrier number that could be ported out easier.
Trying to sign back in the clients tell you the number is banned. There is a help button. It gives you a pre-drafted email filled out with app version, OS version, and phone number asking for help to unban.... and it's addressed to email@example.com. I found this peculiar as firstname.lastname@example.org is the email used in most documentation and is what other people suggested to email.
Within a few minutes of this email being sent my account was re-enabled with nothing deleted except my chat mutes. They apologized and I inquired about wtf had just happened. They told me that it was likely due to my usage of Google Voice and not to worry as my number is now on a whitelist. Furthermore they said in their response: "Or why did you have
such unusual authorization parameters?".
I use the secondary app password, I listed off all the clients I've used... the only really bizarre one being an ancient QT port of the desktop client to Blackberry 10 (I was curious to see if anything still worked on that platform). They told me it was likely due to that.
I questioned them about use of pattern matching in private messages, not once did I hear a denial of this. I could see it being done to prevent bot or terrorist activity, but my guess is talking about 'burners' and having a Google Voice number was enough to have me slip below their trust level even though my account is years old.
EDIT: Turns out the friend I was speaking to had people logging into his account this morning. I've also reported this to Telegram. The unauthorized logins changed his account name on each login.
Can we stop using "Apple fanboy" as a derogatory term? You insult everyone - every single person - who likes the company. A lot of the times I'm tempted to say "those who don't like Apple's products are tasteless idiots" but I never say that out loud. Nope I don't :) So keep your opinion to yourself.
Wow, you are a real apple fanboy, aren't you.
Uh? Isn't Telegram's server-side code closed/proprietary?
If everyone was on matrix, with solid end-to-end encryption, surely that problem would be equally bad?
Lack of trust, lack of authoritative sources that can be trusted; that's different to having secure mass communication means.