Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Telegram Launches Two New Web apps with Better Features and Design

Telegram has named its two apps as Telegram WebK and the Telegram WebZ. Users can send or make video calls on the new Telegram web apps. Both the apps look identical in terms of both features and looks. Therefore, it’s not quite clear now why Telegram launched two separate web apps.
However, if you take a closer look then you can see minute differences in the user interface of Telegram WebK and the Telegram WebZ. There are also a few differences feature-wise between the two apps. For starters, the WebK version allows users to mute calls but you can’t do so in the WebZ app.
In WebK, the search bar is white in colour, whereas, it is grey in the WebZ version. But one of the most important features of all, voice calling, is still missing from both apps. Notably, WhatsApp had launched a voice calling feature on its web app a few months ago. While Telegram hasn’t confirmed anything as of now, the company is likely to bring a voice calling feature to its web app soon with an update.

Pavel Durov Told why Bondholders do not Influence Telegram

Owning bonds does not imply any significant leverage, let alone "friendship" with bondholders. Telegram bonds are a form of debt that any investor can now buy on the secondary market, none of these investors have received any rights to use Telegram or influence its policies.

"This is inaccurate. Owning bonds doesn't imply any meaningful leverage, neither does "being friends" with someone who owns bonds. Telegram bonds are a form of debt which any investor can now buy on the secondary market; none of these investors obtain any rights in managing Telegram or affecting its policies.

A bond issuance is very different from an equity sale in which investors get voting shares, board seats etc. This is why - as I pointed out in my latest post - issuing bonds allowed Telegram to raise funds without sacrificing its independent nature."

Voice Chats 2.0: Channels, Millions of Listeners, Recorded Chats, Admin Tools

Telegram has extended the voice chats feature to Channels with the latest update that also brings a handful of new features including recordable voice chat, raise hand mechanics, voice chat titles, among others. With the latest update, admins of Telegram Channels can now host voice chats for millions of live listeners. To start a voice chat, admins will have to:

Limitless Voice Chats

Admins of channels and public groups can now host voice chats for millions of live listeners. No matter how popular your talk gets, new people will be able to tune in. It's like public radio reinvented for the 21st century.
To start a Voice Chat, open the profile of any group or channel where you're an admin, tap (⋮) or (⋯) and select Start Voice Chat.

Recorded Chats

While some conversations are meant to be temporary, others are worth preserving and passing on. Admins can now record audio from voice chats to save talks and publish them for followers who missed the live event.

Once you finish recording, the audio file becomes instantly available in your Saved Messages. To avoid surprises, chats that are being recorded are marked with a red light next to their title.

Raise Hand

In chats where participants are muted, listeners can tap to raise their hand and alert the admins that they want to speak. Just like calling in to a talk show – but with addictive animations.

Your bio text is now visible in the list of participants, which you can use to detail your expertise, interests, or just a little bit about yourself. This info might help admins find a good slot for your questions or comments.
Speaker and Listener Links

Admins of public groups and channels can now create invite links that open the voice chat right away. Separate links can be made for speakers and listeners. This way you won't need to unmute important guests when they join – and they can use a different link to promote the upcoming chat to their communities.

Voice chats also have optional titles which help users see the topic of conversation before they join.

Join As…

When entering a voice chat in a channel, users have the option to join with their personal account or appear as one of their channels. Celebrities and public figures can use this to avoid drawing too much attention to their personal accounts.
For example, the Presidents of Brazil and Turkey could meet for a talk in Pavel Durov's Channel and answer questions from users without the risk of having their chat lists flooded with fan mail.

And More

If you choose the wrong chat by mistake when forwarding messages, press the X button before sending them – to either cancel forwarding or choose a different chat.
You can also resume playback from where you left off when listening to long voice messages. This was previously available for long videos and long audio tracks, and we thought we'd covered everything – but then our grandma signed up.

Last but not least, Android users can choose which action is assigned to swiping left in the chat list: archiving chats, pinning, muting, deleting or marking them as read. (On iOS, all these swipe actions are always available, depending on which way you swipe.)

And that's it for today, stay tuned for the next update!

Telegram users distribution by region

Telegram provided user distribution by region in their financial report.

The data:
  • Asia – 38%
  • Europe – 26%
  • Middle East – 17%
  • North and South America – 12%
  • Africa – 7%
According to previous data from Pavel Durov, 11% of active users are from India and 7% are from Russia.
India is 8% of signups and 11% of monthly users on Telegram. No other country is bigger on Telegram than India, which is logical given it is the largest free country in terms of population. - Durov

Telegram Update Brings Auto-Delete Feature, Home Screen Widgets, Expiring Invite Links, and More

This update brings an auto-delete timer for messages in any chat, as well as new flexible invite links and faster access to your chats with home screen widgets. Also, groups can now have unlimited members.

Auto-Delete Messages

Some conversations aren't meant to last forever, which is why Telegram users can  delete messages for all participants in a conversation at any time, without a trace. Since 2013, users can also set a self-destruct timer for messages in Secret Chats.

Starting today, you can enable an auto-delete timer in all Telegram chats, which will automatically erase messages for all participants either 24 hours or 7 days after sending.

Auto-delete only applies to messages sent after the timer is set, earlier messages will stay in the chat history. Unlike in Secret Chats, the countdown starts when messages are sent, not read.

To enable the timer on Android, tap ⋮ > Clear History then choose a duration.
On iOS, press and hold a message, tap Select > Clear Chat (top-left) > Enable Auto-Delete.

All messages show a countdown to their deletion time – simply tap on Android or press and hold on iOS to take a look. 

In groups and channels, only admins can enable or modify the timer.

Home Screen Widgets

For instant access to your most important chats, add a Telegram widget to your home screen. The Chat Widget shows a preview of recent messages, while the Shortcut Widget shows only names and profile pictures.

On Android, chats and messages in the widget will always be up to date, and you can further expand the widget to take up more of your screen. On iOS, widgets will only get fresh data occasionally and can't be expanded – this is due to system limitations.

To add a widget, press and hold on your home screen, then tap Widgets on Android or the (+) on iOS and search for Telegram.

Expiring Invite Links

Invite links are a quick and easy way to bring 1 or  1 million people to your groups and channels. Along with the main invite link, owners and admins can now create additional links with a limited durationnumber of uses, or both.

Any invite link can be converted into a scannable QR Code to put on everything from brochures to billboards. You can also see which users joined using each invite link to find out where new members came from or which format has been most effective for growth. 

To view and manage invite links, tap to open your Group or Channel's Profile > Edit > Invite Links. Tap (⋮) or (⋯) to convert a link to a QR Code.

Groups with Unlimited Members

Telegram groups allow up to 200,000 members to exchange messages, media and stickers. Groups that are close to the limit can now convert into Broadcast Groups that allow unlimited members.

Converting to a Broadcast Group makes it so that only admins can send messages, but members can still join voice chats.

Broadcast Groups are ideal for large communities, where people can follow along and catch exclusive interviews, news, or just casual talks.

Improved Chat Import

Our developers are continuing to refine and expand the chat import feature added to Telegram last month. With today’s update, imported messages will now appear sorted by their original date if added to a Telegram chat that is new or has fewer than 1000 messages.

Sorting by original date is currently available when importing to all one-on-one chats, all newly created groups, and smaller existing groups.

Improved Reporting System

Telegram processes millions of user reports each month to make sure the platform is not abused. To help make this more efficient, we will now always ask you to select specific messages when sending a report.

Additionally, all reporting options allow you to add a comment to give more context – like when reporting fake accounts.

And More Animated Emoji

A new update always means new animations, so test out the new characters below by sending a single emoji in any chat.

That's all for today's changes, this message will now delete in 3, 2, 1 … oh. Never mind, this is a blog post, they don't do that yet. 

February 23, 2021
The Telegram Team

How To Import Your Chats From WhatsApp To Telegram

Over 100 million new users joined Telegram this January, seeking more privacy and freedom. But what about the messages and memories that remain in older apps?

Starting today, everyone can bring their chat history – including videos and documents – to Telegram from apps like WhatsApp, Line and KakaoTalk. This works both for individual chats and groups:

To move a chat from WhatsApp on iOS, open the Contact Info or Group Info page in WhatsApp, tap Export Chat, then choose Telegram in the Share menu.

On Android, open a WhatsApp chat, tap ⋮ > More > Export Chat, then choose Telegram in the Share menu:

Move Chats and Save Space

The best part is that the messages and media you move don’t need to occupy extra space. Older apps make you store all data on your device – but Telegram can take up virtually no space while letting you access all your messages, photos and videos anytime you need them.

Telegram Announced Paid Memberships And Channel Monetization

Over the years, Telegram has proven to be a popular alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It's now on the verge of reaching 500 million active users, and as it approaches this milestone, co-founder Pavel Durov has announced plans to start earning revenue in 2021 through premium features and an ad platform.

An operation of such scale requires some serious moolah to keep going, and the app is regularly updated with new features — just today, always-on voice chats, SD card support, and new animations were introduced. Durov's savings were the primary source of funding until now, but this isn't sustainable in the longer term. To keep the boat afloat, Telegram has a two-pronged strategy.

Firstly of all, it plans to introduce paid features in 2021 that will be aimed at business and power users. Don't worry, all of the features that are currently free will remain so, forever.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, it plans to introduce an ad platform that is user-friendly, respects privacy, and allows them to make up for the costs of servers and traffic. It's important to note that no ads will be displayed in either personal or group chats. What may be monetized are the public one-to-many channels, some of which have millions of subscribers.

The company claims that if it starts earning revenue, it will share benefits with the community. For instance, channel owners will "receive free traffic in proportion to their size," although it's not exactly clear what that means, and there will be other opportunities such as paid stickers with profits going to the artists.

Thankfully, Durov dismissed the idea of ever selling Telegram to a large corporation, snarkily pointing out Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp in the process. According to him, the route that the company has chosen will allow it to keep innovating and growing without losing focus on its values.

Telegram adds always on voice chats, SD card support, and new animations

As the year draws to a close, Telegram is pushing out a new update that adds to what is already one of the most feature-rich messaging apps. The most interesting addition is Voice Chats, which allows users in a group chat to participate in an always-on conference call, coming and going as they please.

Once activated (by an admin), group chats will have a special bar at the top that shows how many members are currently involved in the voice chat. Android users can further this experience by enabling a system-wide floating widget. Notably, the feature can support up to a "few thousand participants," but I'm having trouble imagining how that could go well.

Voice Chats will also be available on iOS, Windows, and macOS. On desktop, you'll be able to assign a push-to-talk key to send messages even when Telegram is not focused. The new update brings a few other improvements too. Something you'll immediately notice is the new animations that are littered throughout the Android app. And yes, you can finally move your data from internal storage to an SD card.

Telegram's media editing tools on Android and iOS are now on par with one another. You can now add effects, drawings, or stickers to an already-sent photo on Android, while Apple users gain the the ability to quickly edit and send back photos. Finally, the update brings more animated emojis and will also show outlines of stickers before they load, making it a tad quicker to select an appropriate one.

Today's update brings you multiple pinned messages, proximity alerts for Live Locations, sending music as Playlists, and more

Today's update brings you multiple pinned messages, proximity alerts for Live Locations, sending music as Playlists, and more.

All chats, including one-on-one chats now support multiple pinned messages. Tap on the top bar to jump through them in chat, or use the new icon to open all the pinned messages on a separate page.

When sharing Live Location, you can now set distance alerts that will send you a notification when someone is close, and icons on the map show which direction users are facing.

Sending multiple music files at the same time will create a playlist. Pressing play will automatically add the rest of the tracks to your queue. For other file types, multiple photos or documents will be sent as an album.

It wouldn’t be an update without extra animated emoji, so check out what happens when you send a single ⚰️ 🎃 🧛‍♀️ 🧟‍♂️ 🦇 🕷 🕸 🌜 🌛 or 🗿 in chat (and tap on the animated ⚰️ and 🎃 emojis in chat for an extra surprise).

If you’re feeling lucky, see if you can hit the jackpot using 🎰.

For more info on all these changes and more, including Channel Stats for individual posts and new Android animations, read the blog here:

Restricting access to the official Telegram website in Belarus

A subscriber of the Belarusian operator A1 reported a certificate error on the official Telegram website - Instead of the original GoDaddy certificate, a certificate is provided from a certain "OSOO Alternative Digital Network". In the course, it turned out that in this way A1 is unsuccessfully trying to show a stub about blocking a web resource.

Earlier in Belarus, the Nekhta channel was recognized as extremist and a resolution was adopted on the need to block it.

The error occurs due to the fact that the provider is trying to take secure traffic under its control: in order to view or modify the transmitted data, the provider must replace the legitimate certificate with its own, but modern browsers do not trust such certificates.

In this case, the error is harmless, but in the future, intelligence services may try to listen to traffic in a similar way, performing a so-called MITM attack. They tried to deploy such tactics in Kazakhstan , but after the failure the idea was abandoned.

Never install certificates on your device if the carriers convince you to do so: this directly gives your ISP access to all web traffic.

Correspondence in official Telegram clients remains secure, since Telegram uses its own protocol, independent of this wiretapping technique.

For Telegram links to work on Android again, you need to install Telegram as the default app to open such links:
  1. If, when you click on a link, you are prompted to open it in Telegram or a browser, choose Telegram.
  2. If the pop-up window does not appear: Hold down the Telegram icon and open the "About application" item. Select the "Default Actions" section. Under Open Supported Links, select Open or Allow.
To open the link on iOS in Telegram, hold down this link and select "Open in Telegram".

Thailand protests; Authorities Move to Ban Telegram Messaging App

A leaked government document ordered internet service providers in Thailand to block access to Telegram, a messaging application used by many anti-government demonstrators to coordinate their campaigns.

The “Top Secret” order seen by Khaosod English cited the emergency decree that granted security officers power to block and control any information on the internet deemed to cause unrest in the country.

The letter addressed the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, telling the agency to pass its instructions to all service providers.

Telegram plays a major role in organizing anti-government protests in recent days. Many protesters use the application to discuss venues for rallies and skirt the government’s social media surveillance.

It is unclear whether the ban on Telegram will actually be carried out. Similar efforts initiated by the Russian government in 2018 failed to block the application.

There have been massive protests in Thailand for 5 days. Yesterday a Telegram chat was created, which we already wrote about in @tginfolive.

Almost 200,000 participants joined the chat per day. Let us remind you that for chats this is the maximum possible number of participants and there are only 100 people left until this limit is reached.

Telegram is looking for a data center engineer

This vacancy appeared on the official website of the messenger. It is worth noting that it was in the European data center that several failures occurred in a couple of months, as a result of which there were problems with access to the messenger throughout Eurasia. The European segment remains the most problematic among the rest of Telegram's infrastructure.

Responsibilities: creation, development, maintenance and troubleshooting of European Telegram infrastructure and network equipment, work with suppliers and representatives of data centers, participation in operational procedures, effective work with field projects.

Preferences: years of experience in troubleshooting and operating data centers, high knowledge of cabling and more, multitasking, dedication, ability to work in the EU without sponsorship.

Telegram Limits - InFoTel

Just like any other service, Telegram uses limits to ensure that users follow Fair Usage Policy and to keep the service running. This table lists the currently known Telegram limits and is being kept up to date.


Username (e.g. @cameraman) - 5 to 32 characters
Bio - up to 70 characters
First Name length - from 1 to 64 characters
Last Name length - from 0 to 64 characters
Self-destruction period if no activity - 1, 3, 6 and 12 months (6 by default)
Spam ban - 3 days or more
Channels and supergroups number  (you can be member of ) - up to 500 (including ones you own)
Saved GIFs number - up to 200
Video-avatar -  duration up to 10 seconds
Group and channel creation - up to 50 in a day
Accounts number (official clients) - up to 3

Chats and groups

Participants (limit can be raised) - up to 200,000
Number of admins in groups - up to 50
Number of bots in groups - up to 20
Pinned chats in main list - up to 5 chats or channels + 5 secret chats
Group name and description - up to 255 characters
Message editing - in 48 hours after sending; unlimited in Saved and for admins with pinning rights
Photo and video self-destruction - 1 to 60 seconds
Recent actions (subscriptions, posts, etc.) - last two days
Mentions number in a single message - up to 50, else notifications won't be sent
Visible messages number in group - 1,000,000 last messages
Number of participants to see statistics - at least 500
Username change reservation (time before username will be available for everyone, not just the original owner) - about 15-30 minutes


Public usernames number for a single account - up to 10 (including groups)
Length of @username - 5 to 32 characters
Channel name and description - up to 255 characters
Posts editing - unlimited
Channel subscribers number - unlimited
Visible subscribers for channel admin - 200 people
Channel deletion - channels with more than 1K subscribers can be deleted only with Telegram support
Private channel access without subscription - up to 5 minutes once a day
Inviting users - up to 200 people
Number of subscribers to see statistics - at least 500
Username change reservation (time before username will be available for everyone, not just the original owner) - about 15-30 minutes


One message length - up to 4,096 characters
Media captions - up to 1,024 characters
File size limit - up to 2.0 GB
Video message duration - up to 1 minute
Images and videos in single message (album) - up to 10 items
Scheduled messages number - up to 100 items
Schedule range - up to 365 days


Folders amount - up to 10 folders
Pinned chats in a folder - up to 100 chats

People Nearby

Visibility range - about 12 kilometers
Visible users amount - up to 100 people
Visible geochats number - up to 10 closest


Bots number (created by @BotFather) - up to 20 items
Length of @username for bots - 5 to 32 characters
Bot info length (/setabouttext) - up to 120 characters
Bot description length - up to 512 characters
File upload limit (BotAPI) - up to 50 MB
File download limit (BotAPI) - up to 20 MB
Message forwarding - up to 2,000 per hour
Keyboard buttons number - up to 100 entities
Message formatting data - up to 10 KB
Messages frequency (can be raised by support) - up to 30 messages per second; 20 per minute for public chats and channels


Global search results - up to 10 items; up to 3 for Android
Minimal query length for global search - at least 4 characters


Added packs number - up to 200 items
Favorite stickers number - up to 5 items
Stickers in a pack number - up to 120 for static, up to 50 for animated
Sticker size - one side equal to 512px, the other side 512px or less; strictly 512x512 for animated
Animation duration - up to 3 seconds
Sticker file size - up to 512 KB for static, up to 64 KB for animated
FPS - either 30 or 60


Accounts number in @telegraph bot - up to 5 items
Article size - up to 64 KiB


Video avatar properties - 800x800px, up to 2 MB

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How To Protect Your Telegram Account

How To Protect Your Telegram Account
Telegram is a well-secured messenger, but not all privacy and security settings are activated by default. For your account to be under maximum protection, look at the following settings:

1. Two-factor authentication

The most important protection for your account. If a password is not set, you can lose your profile by intercepting SMS during authorization, by duplicating a sim card, actions of special services through employees of mobile operators. Two-factor authorization is enabled in the following way: Settings - Confidentiality - Two-step authentication.

After entering the password, you will be prompted to enter an email address through which you can recover the forgotten password.

Maximum protection is provided by a password without specifying an email address. So the possibility of hacking the account will be minimized, but there will be a chance to forget or lose the password, which will lead to the complete loss of the account without the possibility of its recovery, more on this in a separate article .

2. Code password

Settings - Privacy - Passcode

Additional protection for your application is a code for it, similar to the one that is installed on your device itself. You can choose to unlock by fingerprint or Face ID, or just a code, choose to auto-lock after a certain period of time, or manually block the application. Such protection largely duplicates the protection of your mobile device and is often redundant, and may be needed only if you do not set a password to access your phone or computer.

3. Room visibility

In Telegram, as in other messengers, it is possible to import contacts to check whether an account is registered to a specific number, so unscrupulous individuals or organizations can create Telegram user bases. So recently the base of 40 million Telegram users leaked. Whether you are in this database, you can find out in the bot .

It is important to hide your number both for those who found themselves in such databases, and for those who do not want to see themselves in them in the future.

Settings - Privacy - Phone number

The visibility structure of the license plate can be clearly seen in this table.

By default, Telegram has the My contacts item and your number will be visible only to those who had your number and those whose number you have.

By checking the Nobody checkbox, you forbid those who are in your notebook, but do not have your phone number, to see your number, and you also open another menu:

4. Who can find me by number

By choosing the My contacts option , you will hide your profile from unknown people. Having entered you into the phone book, Telegam simply will not show the seeker that your profile is in the messenger. Such a setting can make it difficult to find your contact in Telegram, for those whom you have not added to your notebook, decide for yourself that privacy or openness to new people is more important to you.

5. Prevent displaying avatars and profiles when forwarding messages

You can hide your profile picture from unknown users and prevent them from going to your profile through messages forwarded from you. In addition, you can change your real name to a pseudonym - this is suitable for those who are trying to maintain maximum confidentiality in the messenger.

Settings - Privacy - Photo on avatar

Settings - Privacy - Forwarding Profile

In conclusion, we would like to remind you that there is no perfect protection as long as there is a possibility to hack your phone, mail, or force to unlock your device. Social engineering is the most common hacking method. Protect your devices and do not fall for the tricks of scammers.
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Telegram added support for video calling

2020 highlighted the need for face-to-face communication, and our alpha version of video calls is now available on both Android and iOS. You can start a video call from your contact's profile page, and switch video on or off at any time during voice calls. Like all other video content on Telegram, video calls support picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to scroll through chats and multitask while maintaining eye contact.

All video calls are protected with end-to-end encryption. To confirm your connection, compare the four emoji shown on-screen for you and your chat partner – if they match, your call is 100% secured by time-tested encryption also used in Telegram's Secret Chats and Voice Calls. You can find more details on this page.

Our apps for Android and iOS have reproducible builds, so anyone can verify encryption and confirm that their app uses the exact same open source code that we publish with each update.

Video calls will receive more features and improvements in future versions, as we work toward launching group video calls in the coming months. But for this midyear milestone, you can now enjoy a little one-on-one time with those closest to you, whether they're in the other room or on another continent.

Who Sees My Phone Number on Telegram

In one of the latest updates, the Telegram development team added new items in the "Privacy" settings - Who can see your phone number. Sometimes users see the phone number of people who did not have it before. To avoid unnecessary suspicions about "leaks", let's figure out how phone numbers work in a profile and what can be changed in the new settings.

Since the creation of Telegram, the numbers have worked as follows: if a person is recorded in your contacts, you see his number in Telegram as well. Logical enough.

Less well known was the following point, described in the FAQ. Denis's phone number was recorded in your contacts, but he did not know your number. If you write to Denis, he will see your number. It works the same way as SMS - you will see the number of the person who wrote to you.

In the fall of 2018, this item in the FAQ was changed . From that moment on, you only saw the phone number of your contacts (the principle “like SMS” no longer worked). Perhaps the changes occurred after spammers began to throw their phone into the victim's private chat, hoping that he would keep this contact, thereby giving out his personal number.

In June 2019, there are new privacy settings. As before, if someone's number is in your address book, you see the number in the contact's profile in Telegram. By default, as it was before the fall of 2018, all your contacts (people whose number is in your notebook) receive your phone number.

What do the different options for setting “Who can see my number on Telegram” mean:

1. Everybody. 
An option useful for firms, companies, entrepreneurs, etc. - everyone can see your number in your profile.
2. My contacts. 
(default) Standard behavior until fall 2018 - all your contacts see your number. You can add exceptions for specific people as well as for entire groups. The number is also seen by those who saved it on their own.
3. Nobody
since Summer 2019, the behavior of the setting has changed, when you select it, the advanced options for the setting “Who can find me by number in Telegram” are displayed. In exceptions, you can allow the number to be shown to specific people or entire groups.

What do the different options for setting “Who can find me by my number on Telegram” mean:
All. Users who have saved the number to the phone book will see it in Telegram as well.
My contacts. Users who have saved the number in the phone book will see it in Telegram, provided that you have added them to contacts.

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Telegram will add secure group video calls later this year

The group video calling feature on some of the most popular messaging apps has proven to be quite valuable in these trying times. In order to help more users connect using the feature, apps like WhatsApp and Google Duo have released a couple of improvements for the feature in the recent past. For instance, earlier this year Google Duo increased the group size limit to 12 participants and we also learned that the company was working to add invite links for both group video and audio calls. Similarly, Facebook-owned WhatsApp also increased the group size limit to a maximum of 8 participants. But while Duo and WhatsApp are working to improve group video and audio calling, rival messenger Telegram still doesn’t offer a group video calling feature to its users. Thankfully, that’s bound to change soon as Telegram has now announced that group video calling will be added to the platform later this year.

In a recent blog post, the company announced that Telegram will be getting a secure group video calling feature later this year. The post states: “The current global lockdown highlighted the need for a trusted video communication tool. Video calls in 2020 are much like messaging in 2013. There are apps that either secure or usable, but not both. We’d like to fix that, and we will focus on bringing you secure group video calls in 2020.” However, the company hasn’t revealed any information regarding the release timeline for the feature.

Additionally, the blog post reveals that Telegram has now reached 400 million monthly users, up from 300 million at the same time last year. The company claims that at least 1.5 million new users are signing up for Telegram each day, which has helped it become the most downloaded social media application in over 20 countries. On top of that, the company has also released a new update for the messenger which brings upgrades to its Quiz Mode, adds a new sticker directory to help users browse and search stickers, brings a new attachment menu on Android, includes improvements for Telegram for macOS, and adds a new Bullseye animated emoji. For more information on the latest update, you can check the source link below.

Why Using WhatsApp Is Dangerous

A few months ago I wrote about a WhatsApp backdoor that allowed hackers to access all data on any phone running WhatsApp [1]. Facebook, its parent company, claimed at the time that they had no proof the flaw had ever been used by attackers [2]

Last week it became clear that this backdoor had been exploited to extract private communications and photos of Jeff Bezos – the richest person on the planet – who unfortunately relied on WhatsApp [3]. Since the attack seemed to originate from a foreign government, it is likely that countless other business and government leaders have been targeted [4].

In my November post, I predicted this would happen [5]. The United Nations now recommends its officials remove WhatsApp from their devices [6], while people close to Donald Trump have been advised to change their phones [7].

Given the gravity of the situation, one would expect Facebook/WhatsApp to apologize and pledge not to plant backdoors in their apps going forward. Instead, they announced that Apple, not WhatsApp, was to blame. Facebook’s vice president claimed that iOS, rather than WhatsApp, had been hacked [8].

If you follow my blog, you know I am not exactly an Apple fanboy [9]. iOS devices have loads of privacy-related issues. But this was not one of them – for two reasons:

1) WhatsApp’s “corrupt video” vulnerability was present not only on iOS, but also on Android and even Windows Phone devices. Meaning, on all mobile devices with WhatsApp installed.

2) This security fault was not present in other messaging apps on iOS. Had Jeff Bezos relied on Telegram instead of WhatsApp, he wouldn't have been blackmailed by people who compromised his communications [10].

Consequently, the issue was not iOS-specific, but WhatsApp specific.

In their marketing, WhatsApp uses the words “end-to-end encryption” as some magic incantation that alone is supposed to automatically make all communications secure [11]. However, this technology is not a silver bullet that can guarantee you absolute privacy by itself.

Telegram rolled out end-to-end encryption for mass communication years before WhatsApp followed suit, and we’ve been mindful not only of the strengths, but also the limitations of this technology. Other aspects of a messaging app can render end-to-end encryption useless. Below are three examples of what can go wrong.

First, there are backups. Users don’t want to lose their chats when they change devices, so they back up the chats in services like iCloud – often without realizing their backups are not encrypted. The fact that Apple was forced by the FBI to abandon encryption plans for iCloud is telling [12]. That’s one of the reasons why Telegram never relies on third-party cloud backups, and Secret Chats are never backed up anywhere.

Second, there are backdoors. Enforcement agencies are not too happy with encryption, forcing app developers to secretly plant vulnerabilities in their apps. I know that because we’ve been approached by some of them – and refused to cooperate. As a result, Telegram is banned in some countries where WhatsApp has no issues with authorities, most suspiciously in Russia and Iran [13].

Backdoors are usually camouflaged as “accidental” security flaws. In the last year alone, 12 such flaws have been found in WhatsApp. Seven of them were critical – like the one that got Jeff Bezos [14]. Some might tell you WhatsApp is still “very secure” despite having 7 backdoors exposed in the last 12 months, but that’s just statistically improbable. Telegram, an application used by hundreds of millions of people including heads of states and large companies, has had no issues of that severity in the last 6 years.

Third, there are flaws in encryption implementation. How can anybody be sure that the encryption WhatsApp claims to use is the one actually implemented in their apps? Their source code is hidden and the apps’ binaries are obfuscated, making them hard to analyze. On the contrary, Telegram apps have been open-source and its encryption fully documented since 2013. Telegram supports verifiable builds for both iOS and Android – meaning anyone can make sure the source code on GitHub and the Telegram app you download are the same thing [15]. No other messaging app is doing that for both mobile operating systems, and one might just start wondering why.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the tech equivalent of circus magicians who’d like to focus your attention on one isolated aspect all while performing their tricks elsewhere. They want you to think about end-to-end encryption as the only thing you have to look at for privacy. The reality is much more complicated.

Some could say that, as a founder of a rival app, I may be biased when criticizing WhatsApp. Of course I am. Of course I consider Telegram Secret Chats to be significantly more secure than any competing means of communication – why else would I be developing and using Telegram?

However, the statements in this post are based on facts, not personal preference. And, just like the code of the Telegram apps, these facts are verifiable and further supported by the third-party sources below. When it comes to security, nobody should take anybody’s word for granted.

[1] Techspot: Hackers can use a WhatsApp flaw in the way it handles video to take control of your phone – November 19, 2019

[2] ZDNet: Attackers using WhatsApp MP4 video files vulnerability can remotely execute code – November 18, 2019

[3] Popular Mechanics: How Jeff Bezos Got Hacked on WhatsApp—and How It Could Happen to You – January 26, 2020

[4] Forbes: If Jeff Bezos’ iPhone Can Be Hacked Over WhatsApp, So Can Yours – January 22, 2020

[5] Pavel Durov: A New Backdoor Was Quietly Found In WhatsApp – November 20, 2019

[6] Reuters: U.N. says officials barred from using WhatsApp since June 2019 over security – January 23, 2020

[7] CNN: UN expert recommends Kushner change his phone after suspected Saudi hack – January 23, 2020

[8] Gizmodo: Facebook Gives Unintelligible Response to Jeff Bezos Hack, Deciding to Blame iOS – January 26, 2020

[9] Pavel Durov: iCloud Is Now Officially a Surveillance Tool – January 21, 2020

[10] Jeff Bezos: No thank you, Mr. Pecker – February 7, 2020

[11] BBC Radio 4: We're as sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot be hacked into: Facebook’s Nick Clegg – January 24, 2020

[12] Reuters: Apple dropped plan for encrypting backups after FBI complained – January 21, 2020

[13] (a) The Verge: Russia orders immediate block of Telegram messaging app – April 13, 2018

(b) New York Times: Russian Court Bans Telegram App After 18 Minute Hearing – April 13, 2018

[14] Business Insider: WhatsApp disclosed 12 security flaws last year, including 7 classified as 'critical,' after Jeff Bezos phone was reportedly hacked – January 28, 2020

[15] Telegram: Verifiable Builds, New Theme Editor, Send When Online and So Much More – December 31, 2019


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