At Glass Frog Central we have been experimenting with a new (to us anyway!) cross-platform app that works exceedingly well. It’s fast, secure, works on all the devices that we have thrown at it Apple, Windows, Android, desktop, tablet et al and is our new goto for transferring files and messages quickly across the office.
Security is always a worry for us and while many of our favourites (What’s App, Skype, Imessenger) are easy to use, they do have a smack of Big Brother to them as their parent companies are at liberty to pry if they want to and their encryption isn’t the best.
So whats the gen on Telegram?
Telegram is an instant messaging system focusing on privacy and multi-platform availability. Telegram clients exist for both mobile (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) and desktop systems (Windows, OS X, Linux)Telegram users can exchange messages encrypted end-to-end, self-destructing messages, along with photos, videos, stickers, and files of any type up to 1.5 GB in size.
Telegram is run by a German non-profit organisation backed by entrepreneur and philanthropist Pavel Durov. Its client code is open-source software, while currently, its server-side code is proprietary.
Telegram was launched in 2013 by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the founders of Russian VK, Russia’s largest social network. Telegram Messenger LLP is an independent non-profit company based in Berlin, Germany which is not connected to VK. Nikolai created the new MTProto protocol that is the base for the messenger, while Pavel provided financial support and infrastructure through his Digital Fortress fund.
By October 2013, Telegram had 100,000 daily active users. On 24 March 2014, the company announced that it has reached 35 million monthly users and 15 million daily active users.In October 2014, South Korean governmental surveillance plans drove many if its citizens to switch to Telegram. In December 2014, they announced they had 50 million active users, generating 1 billion daily messages and that they had 1 million new users signing up on their service every week traffic doubled in five months with 2 billion daily messages.
Telegram runs contests challenging people to break their cryptography and disclose confidential information within a chat between two fake users. They claim that such challenges will be a permanent feature of their project. On December 21, 2013, a Russian IT-community user discovered a potential vulnerability in Telegram. Although not deciphering the traffic, they received a $100,000 USD reward after the problem was fixed.
On March 1, 2014 the first cryptography contest ended with no winners and Telegram published the keys necessary to decrypt traffic. As of February 17, 2015, Telegram’s standard messages score 4 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation secure messaging scorecard. It receives points for encryption during transit, having the code open to independent review, proper documentation of the security design, and for having had a recent code audit. It misses points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider does not have access to, users can’t verify contact identities, and because past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen. In the same evaluation, the Telegram secret chat mode scored 7 out of 7 points.
However Telegram states that all their chats are private territory and that they do not process any requests related to them. Only requests regarding public content (bots and sticker packs) will be processed.
Accounts are tied to the telephone number of the user, with possession of the telephone with that number verified with a code sent by SMS or a call to that telephone. Subsequent logins are notified to the initial device with the IP address and the time of login. The telephone number associated with an account can be changed without losing messages.
The application features two types of chats. Ordinary chats use client-server encryption and can be accessed from multiple devices. Secret Chats use end-to-end encryption and can be accessed only from the two participating devices.
User accounts are deleted automatically after six months of inactivity although this may be changed to between 1 month and 1 year.
Users can control the “last seen” timestamps, replacing them with fudged messages such as “last seen within a week”. They can block other users and silence chats.
One or two check marks are displayed to indicate that the message is sent to the cloud or read by the recipient, respectively. It is also possible to see the status of the recipient when responding to a message.
Want it? just visit https://telegram.org/ and you will find all the details.
Oh yes – it’s free!