Telegram has become a playground for cybercriminals

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Privacy-focused messaging platform Telegram has been embraced by the cybercriminal community as a dark web-style marketplace, suggests new research.

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Powered by security firm Cybint in collaboration with financial Times, research points to a sharp increase in cybercriminal activity in Telegram channels, some of which have thousands of members.

Cybercriminals are reportedly using the Telegram platform to sell stolen data and hacking tools, and to share information about recent data leaks that could provide material for future attacks.

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Telegram: The New Dark Web?


Telegram’s rise in popularity among cybercriminals is attributed, at least in part, to a wave of new users arriving on the platform earlier this year amid controversy over changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy. Latest estimates, courtesy of SensorTower, suggest Telegram now has over 500 million users

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Another factor that makes the platform attractive to cybercriminals is its simplicity, especially when compared with underground forums on the dark web, which have a smaller pool of users and are more suitable to use. .

“Due to freely available tools for hiding in the shadows, the dark web has gradually shifted to the open web as social media has a bigger shop,” said Jake Moore, cybersecurity expert at ESET. Nerdshala Pro.

“The millions of users available on social media and channels such as Telegram mean that criminals have moved to reach large pools of potential customers. And little has to be done to stop these markets from flourishing.”

The Cyberint investigation revealed a 100%+ increase in cybercriminal activity on Telegram, (though the time-frame was not specified). Meanwhile, the use of words like “combo” and “email:pass” in Telegram channels, which indicate the entire set of stolen credentials are available for purchase, is said to have increased by 300%. increased more.

There are many other types of personal data floating around on the platform as well, including banking credentials, credit card details and passport numbers.

The research findings put Telegram in a difficult position; The company must either compromise its privacy-first principles and adopt a relatively non-interventionist approach to moderation, or allow criminal activity to flourish on its platform.

Nerdshala Pro has asked Telegram to comment on the research and clarification regarding the steps being taken by the company to curb illegal activities on its platform.

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