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Telegram Suffers 'Powerful DDoS Attack' From China During Hong Kong Protests

Telegram Suffers 'Powerful DDoS Attack' From China During Hong Kong Protests

June 13, 2019Mohit Kumar
Telegram, one of the most popular encrypted messaging app, briefly went offline yesterday for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide after a powerful distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack hit its servers. Telegram founder Pavel Durov later revealed that the attack was mainly coming from the IP addresses located in China, suggesting the Chinese government could be behind it to sabotage Hong Kong protesters. Since last week, millions of people in Hong Kong are fighting their political leaders over the proposed amendments to an extradition law that would allow a person arrested in Hong Kong to face trial elsewhere, including in mainland China. Many people see it as a fundamental threat to the territory's civic freedoms and the rule of law. Many people in Hong Kong are currently using Telegram's encrypted messaging service to communicate without being spied on, organize the protest, and alert each other about activities on the ground. According to Telegram, th
Hacker Breaks Into French Government's New Secure Messaging App

Hacker Breaks Into French Government's New Secure Messaging App

April 19, 2019Swati Khandelwal
A white-hat hacker found a way to get into the French government's newly launched, secure encrypted messaging app that otherwise can only be accessed by officials and politicians with email accounts associated with the government identities. Dubbed " Tchap ," the end-to-end encrypted, open source messaging app has been created by the French government with an aim to keep their officials, parliamentarians and ministers data on servers inside the country over concerns that foreign agencies could use other services to spy on their communications. The Tchap app is built using the Riot client, an open source instant messaging software that implements self-hostable Matrix protocol for end-to-end encrypted communication. Yes, it's the same " Riot and Matrix " that was in the news earlier this week after an unknown hacker breaks into its servers and successfully stole unencrypted private messages, password hashes, access tokens, and GPG keys the project ma
Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage

Telegram Gained 3 Million New Users During WhatsApp, Facebook Outage

March 14, 2019Mohit Kumar
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

October 30, 2018Swati Khandelwal
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, 2018Swati Khandelwal
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
Hackers Reveal How Code Injection Attack Works in Signal Messaging App

Hackers Reveal How Code Injection Attack Works in Signal Messaging App

May 14, 2018Swati Khandelwal
After the revelation of the eFail attack details, it's time to reveal how the recently reported code injection vulnerability in the popular end-to-end encrypted Signal messaging app works. As we reported last weekend, Signal has patched its messaging app for Windows and Linux that suffered a code injection vulnerability discovered and reported by a team of white-hat hackers from Argentina. The vulnerability could have been exploited by remote attackers to inject a malicious payload inside the Signal desktop app running on the recipients' system just by sending them a specially crafted link—without requiring any user interaction. According to a blog post published today, the vulnerability was accidentally discovered while researchers–Iván Ariel Barrera Oro, Alfredo Ortega and Juliano Rizzo–were chatting on Signal messenger and one of them shared a link of a vulnerable site with an XSS payload in its URL. However, the XSS payload unexpectedly got executed on the Sig
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, 2018Swati Khandelwal
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
Twitter is Testing End-to-End Encrypted Direct Messages

Twitter is Testing End-to-End Encrypted Direct Messages

May 08, 2018Mohit Kumar
Twitter has been adopting new trends at a snail's pace. But it’s better to be late than never. Since 2013 people were speculating that Twitter will bring end-to-end encryption to its direct messages, and finally almost 5 years after the encryption era began, the company is now testing an end-to-end encrypted messaging on Twitter. Dubbed " Secret Conversation ," the feature has been spotted in the latest version of Android application package (APK) for Twitter by Jane Manchun Wong, a computer science student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. End-to-end encryption allows users to send and receive messages in a way that no one, be it an FBI agent with a warrant, hacker or even the service itself, can intercept them. However, it seems like the Secret Conversation feature has currently been available only to a small number of users for testing. So, if you are one of those lucky ones, you will be able to send end-to-end encrypted Secret Conversation thro
Hackers Exploit 'Telegram Messenger' Zero-Day Flaw to Spread Malware

Hackers Exploit 'Telegram Messenger' Zero-Day Flaw to Spread Malware

February 13, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A zero-day vulnerability has been discovered in the desktop version for end-to-end encrypted Telegram messaging app that was being exploited in the wild in order to spread malware that mines cryptocurrencies such as Monero and ZCash. The Telegram vulnerability was uncovered by security researcher Alexey Firsh from Kaspersky Lab last October and affects only the Windows client of Telegram messaging software. The flaw has actively been exploited in the wild since at least March 2017 by attackers who tricked victims into downloading malicious software onto their PCs that used their CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies or serve as a backdoor for attackers to remotely control the affected machine, according to a blogpost on Securelist. Here's How Telegram Vulnerability Works The vulnerability resides in the way Telegram Windows client handles the RLO (right-to-left override) Unicode character (U+202E), which is used for coding languages that are written from right to left, li
Skype Finally Adds End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations

Skype Finally Adds End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations

January 12, 2018Mohit Kumar
Good news for Skype users who are concerned about their privacy. Microsoft is collaborating with popular encrypted communication company Signal to bring end-to-end encryption support to Skype messenger. End-to-end encryption assured its users that no one, not even the company or server that transmits the data, can decrypt their messages. Signal Protocol is an open source cryptographic protocol that has become an industry-wide standard—which is used in  Facebook Messenger , Whatsapp , and Google Allo for secure messaging. Dubbed Private Conversations , the new feature which is about to be introduced in Skype will offer end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text, and multimedia messages like videos and audio files. "Skype Private Conversations give you enhanced security through end-to-end encryption with an additional layer of security for conversations between you and your friends and family," the company announced .  "Private Conversations can only be betwe
WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats

WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats

January 10, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A more dramatic revelation of 2018—an outsider can secretly eavesdrop on your private end-to-end encrypted group chats on WhatsApp and Signal messaging apps. Considering protection against three types of attackers—malicious user, network attacker, and malicious server—an end-to-end encryption protocol plays a vital role in securing instant messaging services. The primary purpose of having end-to-end encryption is to stop trusting the intermediate servers in such a way that no one, not even the company or the server that transmits the data, can decrypt your messages or abuse its centralized position to manipulate the service. In order words—assuming the worst-case scenario—a corrupt company employee should not be able to eavesdrop on the end-to-end encrypted communication by any mean. However, so far even the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging services, like WhatsApp, Threema and Signal, have not entirely achieved zero-knowledge system. Researchers from Ruhr-Universität
75,000 Turks Arrested So Far for Downloading Encrypted Messaging App

75,000 Turks Arrested So Far for Downloading Encrypted Messaging App

September 15, 2017Unknown
WARNING: If you are Turkish and using or have installed ByLock —a little-known encrypted messaging app—you could be detained by Turkish authorities. You might be thinking why??? Because using this app in Turkish is illegal since last year. The background story begins here... Remember the deadliest Turkey's failed coup attempt? In July 2016, a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation—by deploying soldiers, tanks on the streets of major Turkish cities—to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan . The Turkish government blamed Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher who lives in the United States, for leading the July 15-16 attempted coup , though Gülen denied any involvement. In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT), the Turkish intelligence agency investigated and found that the ByLock messaging app was used as a communication tool by tens of thousands of Gülen movement followers to c
A Company Offers $500,000 For Secure Messaging Apps Zero-Day Exploits

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

August 24, 2017Swati Khandelwal
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

June 29, 2017Mohit Kumar
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
Russia Threatens to Ban Telegram Messaging App, Says It Was Used By Terrorists

Russia Threatens to Ban Telegram Messaging App, Says It Was Used By Terrorists

June 26, 2017Mohit Kumar
Russia has threatened to ban Telegram end-to-end encrypted messaging app, after Pavel Durov, its founder, refused to sign up to the country's new data protection laws. Russian intelligence service, the FSB, said on Monday that the terrorists that killed 15 people in Saint Petersburg in April had used the Telegram encrypted messaging service to plot their attacks. According to the new Russian Data Protection Laws, as of January 1, all foreign tech companies have been required to store the past six months' of the personal data of its citizens and encryption keys within the country; which the company has to share with the authorities on demand. "There is one demand, and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram," Alexander Zharov said, head of communications regulator Roskomnadzor (state communications watchdog). "And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers of d
Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls

Telegram Messenger Adds AI-powered Encrypted Voice Calls

March 31, 2017Mohit Kumar
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

March 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
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

February 15, 2017Swati Khandelwal
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
Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?

Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?

January 14, 2017Mohit Kumar
What is a backdoor? By definition: "Backdoor is a feature or defect of a computer system that allows surreptitious unauthorized access to data, " either the backdoor is in encryption algorithm, a server or in an implementation, and doesn't matter whether it has previously been used or not. Yesterday, we published a story based on findings reported by security researcher Tobias Boelter that suggests WhatsApp has a backdoor that "could allow" an attacker, and of course the company itself, to intercept your encrypted communication. The story involving the world's largest secure messaging platform that has over a billion users worldwide went viral in few hours, attracting reactions from security experts, WhatsApp team, and Open Whisper Systems, who partnered with Facebook to implement end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp. Note: I would request readers to read complete article before reaching out for a conclusion. And also, suggestions and opinions are
WhatsApp Backdoor allows Hackers to Intercept and Read Your Encrypted Messages

WhatsApp Backdoor allows Hackers to Intercept and Read Your Encrypted Messages

January 13, 2017Mohit Kumar
Important Update — Most Security Experts argued, " It's not a backdoor, rather it’s a feature ," but none of them denied the fact that, if required, WhatsApp or a hacker can intercept your end-to-end encrypted chats. Read detailed explanation on arguments in my latest article. Most people believe that end-to-end encryption is the ultimate way to protect your secret communication from snooping, and it does, but it can be intercepted if not implemented correctly. After introducing " end-to-end encryption by default " last year, WhatsApp has become the world's largest secure messaging platform with over a billion users worldwide. But if you think your conversations are completely secure in a way that no one, not even Facebook, the company that owned WhatsApp, can intercept your messages then you are highly mistaken, just like most of us and it's not a new concept. Here's the kick: End-to-end encrypted messaging service, such as WhatsApp and Te
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