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The Hacker News - Most Trusted Cyber Security and Computer Security Analysis: Secure Messenger

Facebook Postpones Plans for E2E Encryption in Messenger, Instagram Until 2023

Facebook Postpones Plans for E2E Encryption in Messenger, Instagram Until 2023
Nov 22, 2021
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, disclosed that it doesn't intend to roll out default end-to-end encryption (E2EE) across all its messaging services until 2023, pushing its original plans by at least a year. "We're taking our time to get this right and we don't plan to finish the global rollout of end-to-end encryption by default across all our messaging services until sometime in 2023," Meta's head of safety, Antigone Davis,  said  in a post published in The Telegraph over the weekend. The new scheme, described as a "three-pronged approach," aims to employ a mix of non-encrypted data across its apps as well as account information and reports from users to improve safety and combat abuse, noting that the goal is to deter illegal behavior from happening in the first place, giving users more control, and actively encouraging users to flag harmful messages. Meta had previously  outlined  plans to be "fully end-to-en

A Sticker Sent On Telegram Could Have Exposed Your Secret Chats

A Sticker Sent On Telegram Could Have Exposed Your Secret Chats
Feb 16, 2021
Cybersecurity researchers on Monday disclosed details of a now-patched flaw in the Telegram messaging app that could have exposed users' secret messages, photos, and videos to remote malicious actors. The issues were discovered by Italy-based Shielder in iOS, Android, and macOS versions of the app. Following responsible disclosure, Telegram addressed them in a series of patches on September 30 and October 2, 2020. The flaws stemmed from the way secret chat functionality operates and in the app's handling of  animated stickers , thus allowing attackers to send malformed stickers to unsuspecting users and gain access to messages, photos, and videos that were exchanged with their Telegram contacts through both classic and secret chats. One caveat of note is that exploiting the flaws in the wild may not have been trivial, as it requires chaining the aforementioned weaknesses to at least one additional vulnerability in order to get around security defenses in modern devices to

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020
Oct 25, 2019
Mobile carriers in the United States will finally offer a universal cross-carrier communication standard for the next-generation RCS messaging service that is meant to replace SMS and has the potential to change the way consumers interact with brands for years to come. All major United States mobile phone carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have joined forces to launch a new initiative that will replace SMS with RCS mobile messaging standard . What's more? The initiative is also working with its carrier ownership group and other companies to develop and deploy the new RCS standard in a new text messaging app for Android phones that is expected to be launched in 2020. The goal of this joint venture , dubbed the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) , is to deliver the GSMA's Rich Communications Service (RCS) industry standard to consumers and businesses on each of the four carriers, both in the United States and globally. "Efforts like

Signal Messenger Bug Lets Callers Auto-Connect Calls Without Receivers' Interaction

Signal Messenger Bug Lets Callers Auto-Connect Calls Without Receivers' Interaction
Oct 04, 2019
Almost every application contains security vulnerabilities, some of which you may find today, but others would remain invisible until someone else finds and exploits them—which is the harsh reality of cybersecurity and its current state. And when we say this, Signal Private Messenger —promoted as one of the most secure messengers in the world—isn't any exception. Google Project Zero researcher Natalie Silvanovich discovered a logical vulnerability in the Signal messaging app for Android that could allow malicious caller to force a call to be answered at the receiver's end without requiring his/her interaction. In other words, the flaw could be exploited to turn on the microphone of a targeted Signal user's device and listen to all surrounding conversations. However, the Signal vulnerability can only be exploited if the receiver fails to answer an audio call over Signal, eventually forcing the incoming call to be automatically answered on the receiver's device

Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage

Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage
Mar 14, 2019
WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram faced a widespread outage yesterday with users from around the world reporting issues with sending messages on WhatsApp and Messenger, posting feeds on Facebook and accessing other features on the three Facebook-owned platforms. While the outage was quite troubling both for the social media giant and its millions of users, guess who benefits the most out of the incident? TELEGRAM. Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular secure messaging platform Telegram, claims to have had a surge in sign-ups within the last 24 hours, at the time duration when its rival messaging services were facing downtime. "I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours," Durov wrote on his Telegram channel. "Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone." Telegram is an excellent alternative to Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp services, offering users an optional end-to-end encrypted messaging feature,

Signal Secure Messaging App Now Encrypts Sender's Identity As Well

Signal Secure Messaging App Now Encrypts Sender's Identity As Well
Oct 30, 2018
Signal, the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app, is planning to roll out a new feature that aims to hide the sender's identity from potential attackers trying to intercept the communication. Although messages send via secure messaging services, like Signal , WhatsApp , and Telegram , are fully end-to-end encrypted as they transmit across their servers, each message leaves behind some of the metadata information that reveals who sent the message to whom and when. The new feature, dubbed " Sealed Sender ," announced by Signal is going to further reduce the amount of information that is accessible to the company itself. However, you should note that Signal never stores metadata or logs of information on its users like who sends messages to each other and when, but the new feature would protect the sender's identity in case the communication is somehow intercepted. How Does the Signal's Sealed Sender Feature Protect Metadata? According to a blog post

Russia asks Apple to remove Telegram Messenger from the App Store

Russia asks Apple to remove Telegram Messenger from the App Store
May 30, 2018
Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor has threatened Apple to face the consequences if the company does not remove secure messaging app Telegram from its App Store. Back in April, the Russian government banned Telegram in the country for the company's refusal to hand over private encryption keys to Russian state security services to access messages sent using the secure service. However, so far, the Telegram app is still available in the Russian version of Apple's App Store. So in an effort to entirely ban Telegram, state watchdog Roskomnadzor reportedly sent a legally binding letter to Apple asking it to remove the app from its Russian App Store and block it from sending push notifications to local users who have already downloaded the app. Roskomnadzor's director Alexander Zharov said he is giving the company one month to remove the Telegram app from its App Store before the regulator enforces punishment for violations. For those unfamiliar with

Severe Bug Discovered in Signal Messaging App for Windows and Linux

Severe Bug Discovered in Signal Messaging App for Windows and Linux
May 12, 2018
Security researchers have discovered a severe vulnerability in the popular end-to-end encrypted Signal messaging app for Windows and Linux desktops which could allow remote attackers to execute malicious code on recipients system just by sending a message—without requiring any user interaction. Discovered by Alfredo Ortega, a software security consultant from Argentina, the vulnerability was announced on Twitter just a few hours ago with a proof-of-concept video, demonstrating how a javascript payload sent over Signal for desktop app successfully got executed on the recipient's system. Although technical details of the vulnerability have not been revealed as of now, the issue appears to be a remote code execution vulnerability in Signal or at least something very close to persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) which eventually could allow attackers to inject malicious code onto targeted Windows and Linux systems. "For the time being, we can only confirm the execution

Self-destructing messages received on 'Signal for Mac' can be recovered later

Self-destructing messages received on 'Signal for Mac' can be recovered later
May 09, 2018
It turns out that macOS client for the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal fails to properly delete disappearing (self-destructing) messages  from the recipient's system, leaving the content of your sensitive messages at risk of getting exposed. For those unaware, the disappearing messages in Signal self-destruct after a particular duration set by the sender, leaving no trace of it on the receiver's device or Signal servers. However, security researcher Alec Muffett noticed that the messages that are supposed to be "disappearing" can still be seen—even if they are deleted from the app. Another security researcher Patrick Wardle reproduced the issue and explained that macOS makes a copy (partial for long messages) of disappearing messages in a user-readable database of macOS's Notification Center, from where they can be recovered anytime later. If you want to keep an on your incoming messages without having to check your inbox obsessively

China Bans WhatsApp Messenger

China Bans WhatsApp Messenger
Sep 26, 2017
Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has already been struggling for its existence in China ever since July when Chinese government blocked its users from sending photos and videos over the app. Now, it appears that China has largely blocked Facebook-owned WhatsApp in its latest step to tighten censorship as the country prepares for a major Communist Party gathering next month. Yes, WhatsApp no longer works in the country at all. China has a long history of blocking and limiting access to web services, especially social networks and Western-owned sites through its Great Firewall . The service currently blocks some 171 out of the world's leading websites, including Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many Google services in mainland China. And now, it is WhatsApp. Although it's unclear how long the messaging app may remain inaccessible in the country, according to Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm that monitors WhatsApp's situation in Chi

A Company Offers $500,000 For Secure Messaging Apps Zero-Day Exploits

A Company Offers $500,000 For Secure Messaging Apps Zero-Day Exploits
Aug 24, 2017
How much does your privacy cost? It will soon be sold for half a Million US dollars. A controversial company specialises in acquiring and reselling zero-day exploits is ready to pay up to US$500,000 for working zero-day vulnerabilities targeting popular secure messenger applications, such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. Zerodium announced a new pricing structure on Wednesday, paying out $500,000 for fully functional remote code execution (RCE) and local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerabilities in Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, Viber, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Telegram. The payouts for all these secure messengers have been increased after tech companies introduced end-to-end encryption in their apps, making it more difficult for anyone to compromise their messaging platforms. The same payout is offered for remote code execution and local privilege escalation security flaws in default mobile email applications. Launched in 2015, Zerodium is a Washington, DC-based p

Telegram Agrees to Register With Russia to Avoid Ban, But Won't Share User Data

Telegram Agrees to Register With Russia to Avoid Ban, But Won't Share User Data
Jun 29, 2017
After being threatened with a ban in Russia , end-to-end encrypted Telegram messaging app has finally agreed to register with new Russian Data Protection Laws, but its founder has assured that the company will not comply to share users' confidential data at any cost. Russia's communications watchdog Roskomnadzor had recently threatened to block Telegram if the service did not hand over information required to put the app on an official government list of information distributors. The Russian government requirement came following terrorists' suicide bombings that killed 15 people in Saint Petersburg in April in which terrorists allegedly used the Telegram 's app to communicate and plot attacks. "There is one demand, and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," said Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor.  "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers

Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls

Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls
Mar 31, 2017
Joining the line with rival chat apps WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and Signal, the Telegram instant messaging service has finally rolled out a much-awaited feature for the new beta versions of its Android app: Voice Calling . And what's interesting? Your calls will be secured by Emojis, and quality will be better using Artificial Intelligence. No doubt the company brought the audio calling feature quite late, but it's likely because of its focus on security — the voice calls on Telegram are by default based on the same end-to-end encryption methods as its Secret Chat mode to help users make secure calls. Unlike Signal or WhatsApp, Telegram does not support end-to-end encryption by default; instead, it offers a 'Secret Chat' mode, which users have to enable manually, to completely secure their chats from prying eyes. However, the voice calling feature in Telegram supports end-to-end encryption by default, enabling users to secure their chats in a way

UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack

UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack
Mar 27, 2017
The government has once again started asking for backdoor in encrypted services, arguing that it can not give enough security to its citizens because the terrorists are using encrypted apps to communicate and plot an attack. Following last week's terrorist attack in London, the UK government is accusing technology firms to give terrorists "a place to hide," saying Intelligence agencies must have access to encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp to prevent such attacks. According to authorities , the killer, Khalid Masood, 52, was active on WhatsApp messaging app just two minutes before he attacked Britain's Houses of Parliament in Westminster that killed four people. Here's what Amber Rudd, Britain's Home Secretary said while speaking at BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate

Signal Messaging App Rolls Out Encrypted Video Calling

Signal Messaging App Rolls Out Encrypted Video Calling
Feb 15, 2017
WhatsApp and Facebook have so far the largest end-to-end encrypted video calling network of all, but now another popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden is ready to give them a really tough competition. The Signal app, which is widely considered the most secure of all other encrypted messaging apps, released video calling feature on Tuesday for both Android and iOS in a new update. Developed by open source software group Open Whisper System, Signal is a free and open source messaging application specially designed for Android and iOS users to make secure and encrypted messages and voice calls. Even the Signal Protocol powers the end-to-end encryption built into WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo's Incognito mode as well. Signal has already been providing fully end-to-end encrypted chat and voice calling features, but the newly added feature will make it even easier for privacy conscious people to convey their inf

Signal is Most Secure Messenger, 'Useless Data' Obtained by FBI Proves It All

Signal is Most Secure Messenger, 'Useless Data' Obtained by FBI Proves It All
Oct 04, 2016
Do you trust your messaging app even though it uses end-to-end encryption? As I previously said end-to-end encryption doesn't mean that your messages are secure enough to hide your trace. It's because most of the messaging apps still record and store a lot of metadata on your calls and messages that could reveal some of your personal information including dates and durations of communication, as well as the participants' phone numbers. Apple's iMessage app is the most recent and best example of this scenario. Just recently it was reported that the company stores a lot of information about its end-to-end encrypted iMessage, that could reveal your contacts and location, and even share this data with law enforcement via court orders. But if you are using open source end-to-end encrypted Signal   app, you are on the safer side. Trust me! As we previously reported that the Signal app, which is widely considered the most secure of all other encrypted messaging a

Using 'Signal' for Encrypted Chats? You Shouldn't Skip Its Next Update

Using 'Signal' for Encrypted Chats? You Shouldn't Skip Its Next Update
Sep 16, 2016
Two Researchers have discovered a couple of vulnerabilities in Signal , the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging app recommended by whistleblower Edward Snowden. One of those vulnerabilities could allow potential attackers to add random data to the attachments of encrypted messages sent by Android users, while another bug could allow hackers to remotely crash vulnerable devices. The vulnerabilities have just been patched, but the updated version of Signal is yet available on the Github open source repository, and not on the Google's official Play Store for Android apps, leaving millions of privacy conscious people vulnerable to attacks. That means, if you have installed Signal messaging app via Google Play Store, like other millions of Android users, you are still vulnerable to hackers. Developed by open source software group Open Whisper System, Signal is a free and open source messaging application specifically designed for Android and iOS users to make secure and e

Germany and France declare War on Encryption to Fight Terrorism

Germany and France declare War on Encryption to Fight Terrorism
Aug 25, 2016
Yet another war on Encryption! France and Germany are asking the European Union for new laws that would require mobile messaging services to decrypt secure communications on demand and make them available to law enforcement agencies. French and German interior ministers this week said their governments should be able to access content on encrypted services in order to fight terrorism , the Wall Street Journal reported . French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve went on to say that the encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp " constitute a challenge during investigations, " making it difficult for law enforcement to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists. Also Read:  How to Send and Receive End-to-End Encrypted Emails The proposal calls on the European Commission to draft a law that would " impose obligations on operators who show themselves to be non-cooperative, in particular when it comes to withdrawing illegal content or decrypting me

​DARPA Wants To Build Ultra Secure Messaging App for US Military

​DARPA Wants To Build Ultra Secure Messaging App for US Military
Apr 24, 2016
Just last month, DARPA launched a project dubbed "Improv," inviting hackers to transform simple household appliances into deadly weapons . Now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is finding someone in the private sector to develop a hacker-proof " secure messaging and transaction platform " for the U.S. military. Darpa wants researchers to create a secure messaging and transaction platform that should be accessible via the web browser or standalone native application. The secure messaging app should " separate the message creation, from the transfer (transport) and reception of the message using a decentralized messaging backbone to allow anyone anywhere the ability to send a secure message or conduct other transactions across multiple channels traceable in a decentralized ledger, " agency's  notice explains. In simple words, DARPA aims to create a secure messaging service that not only implements the standard encryption and se

Apple hires developer of World's Most Secure Messaging App

Apple hires developer of World's Most Secure Messaging App
Feb 26, 2016
Apple is serious this time to enhance its iPhone security that even it can not hack. To achieve this the company has hired one of the key developers of Signal — World's most secure, open source and encrypted messaging app. Frederic Jacobs, who worked to develop Signal, announced today that he is joining Apple this summer to work as an intern in its CoreOS security team. "I'm delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer," Jacobs tweeted Thursday. Signal app is widely popular among the high-profile privacy advocates, security researchers, journalists and whistleblowers for its clean and open source code, and even the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden uses it every day. Signal messages are end-to-end encrypted, which means only the sender and the intended recipient can read the messages. Although Apple's iMessage is also end-to-end encrypted, it is not open source. Apple to bu
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