We’ve come a long way regarding communications. Not so long ago, phones used to make calls only; however, the landscape is undoubtedly broader. We now have many options to connect and interact with friends, family, coworkers, and more. Telegram, an online messaging app, is one such option to engage in communications nowadays. But is it safe to use Telegram? That’s the question people ask the most.
The short answer to Telegram safety is a “yes.” But on a deeper level, you need to follow some Telegram security best practices to take the most out of the application without compromising your online protection.
Telegram, at its core
Russian brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov launched Telegram in 2013, aiming to put on the market a messaging app focusing on privacy and speed, which, to this day, it’s safe to say is a mission accomplished.
This cloud-based messaging app protects users’ privacy to a degree where many possibilities come to the surface (more on that in ‘The dark side of Telegram‘ section).
However, on a primitive level, one could say that much like any other messaging app, Telegram offers similar options. That is sharing texts, multimedia, emojis, stickers, GIFs, recordings, locations, etc. You can also create chat groups a thousand times (literally) bigger than Whatsapp, with up to 200,000 members per group.
These outstanding features speak for themselves. Nonetheless, the security of Telegram remains a topic of discussion.
So, what’s the reality? Buckle up while we disclose the results of our Telegram security inspection.
When you think of security in messaging apps, the first word you associate with it is encryption. End-to-end encryption is a method that encrypts messages across apps and forbids third parties from accessing the content.
This method gained popularity in 2013 after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s report, and years later, it became a recurrent practice in a group of apps and software to protect and ensure privacy.
Regarding this, Telegram uses a mix of encryption methods. There are currently two modes, the standard one and the Secret Chat mode.
All data is stored heavily encrypted, and the encryption keys in each case are stored in several other data centers in different jurisdictions.
Like this, local engineers nor physical intruders can access the data and manipulate it. If a third party were to request stored information, it would have to go through endless legal loops and jurisdictions, resulting in a complete blockage of the requested data.
However, as stated before, even though the standard mode keeps the data secured, it is still cloud storage.
On the other hand, the Secret Chat mode is the perfect choice for thoughtful users who worry about their privacy. In this mode, all the messages or data you share don’t allocate on Telegram servers; the recipient keeps them locally in their device and can only decypher the data with the appropriate decryption keys.
A cloud-based app
A regular Telegram user would think of the app as a messenger. Nonetheless, it is, at its core, a chat cloud service. Cloud-based chats allow you to access your data from multiple devices; even though they’re not end-to-end encrypted, they are relatively safe, and you can activate the Secret Chat mode if you want an extra layer of protection.