Billing itself as a fast and modern cloud-based messaging app, Telegram is a major competitor to Signal and WhatsApp, with more than 700 million active users. Privacy represents Telegram’s biggest draw. Users have the option of protecting their chats with end-to-end encryption and even setting messages to self-destruct.
Unfortunately, these privacy features add a layer of obfuscation to criminal transactions and activity, making both digital forensics and threat intelligence notoriously difficult; a recent study found Telegram is the preferred communication tool of cybercriminals for precisely this reason.
Moreover, Telegram’s encryption does little to address the security, regulatory, and liability risks your business could face if employees use the platform in violation of company policy. If you’re unprepared, you won’t even know your people are using Telegram in the first place. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it is possible to mitigate Telegram’s risks — provided you understand those risks.
The Five Most Significant Business Problems Posed by Telegram
1. Safety-Free Digital Collaboration
Telegram makes it easy for your users to collaborate both internally and with third parties. It fully supports most communication methods with few restrictions, including phone calls, video and audio sharing, and text chat. Telegram chats that happen behind your security team’s back also happen without oversight or protection.
This means no data leak prevention, no malware scans, and no access control. Remember also that Telegram’s Secret Chat feature must be enabled. Users could well share confidential data without end-to-end encryption, putting it at risk of falling into the hands of unauthorized and unscrupulous third parties.
2. Anonymity for All
As befits an app that sells itself on privacy, Telegram requires next to no personally identifiable information from its users. Creating an account requires only a phone number, and users can connect and chat with one another by username alone. One need not even use their real first and last name during the on-boarding process.
With that said, Telegram does request certain permissions that give it access to personal…