Telegram is anything but secure; even Facebook is safer, says Signal founder
Telegram has earned a growing reputation for being the somewhat hippie, and as some may think, safer alternative of WhatsApp or Messenger—something on par with the Signal app, although perhaps better known. However, Telegram's reputation for offering any level of additional cybersecurity is overly exaggerated—a fact emphasized by Signal's own founder, Moxie Marlinspike, this week.
Marlinspike took to dishing out some heavy criticism on what is one of Signal's biggest competitors, by bashing the popular notion that Telegram offers anything in the way of end-to-end encryption. Messages sent through Telegram are stored on Telegram's servers in their original form, or plain text, without going any sort of encryption to protect private user data, shared Marlinspike.
He went on to say that in this regard, even Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp offer greater privacy than Telegram. Both of these apps, run by the company now rebranded as Meta, offer at least end-to-end encryption for all text messages sent through their platforms.
Telegram stores all the data ever sent through the app in its cloud, in a completely exposed format: texts, shared media, contacts, everything is essentially free game for anyone who cares to look.
This is a reality that's considered unacceptable even by Facebook's standards, which is known for its lack of care when it comes to personal privacy online. Even Messenger offers the minimum standard end-to-end encryption protocol for data stored on its servers. However, anyone with access to Telegram's serves has direct access to the entire database of users' unprotected data.
As Winfuture (who first reported on this) words it, the Telegram app is essentially an open window into the servers storing all the history that ever was on the platform, rendering everything visible to the private user just as visible to the server operators on the other side, requiring zero extra effort for direct access.
The point being, if anyone such as a hacker, or even an authority that has you under suspicion, has any interest in spying on your personal messages in Telegram, they could easily do so. Moxie Marlinspike isn't the first to bring Telegram's false reputation and concerning methods of operation to light by any means, either.
Thus, if there is any lingering trace of the stereotype of Telegram being any kind of "safe," it's best to dispel it once and for all; even Messenger will do you one better.