The Three Ts: Remaining Untraceable with Telegram

Category: Blog

By Janice


We continue Professor Bill Buchanan’s Something to Hide series with a look at the messaging service Telegram.

T - Telegram
A recent example, too, revolves around the usage of encrypted messaging applications. While WhatsApp has been getting much of the press in the UK, it is Telegram which is currently the focus of attention in areas such as East Asia. The promotion of Telegram provides a range of attributes that malicious agents could use, such as:

  • The usage of heavy encryption.
  • The broadcasting of messages.
  • The self-destruction of messages.

From their promotion (Figure 5), from a standing start two years ago, they now have over 100 million active users per month (and over 350,000 new users each day), with over 15 billion messages sent on a daily basis (Figure 6).

Overall Telegram integrates into mobile phone applications using API calls, and converts messages in a binary stream. It then uses cryptography to encrypt the communications before sending it over the network using a range of methods (Figure 7), including for Web communications (HTTP or HTTPS) or network communications (TCP and UDP).

In East Asia, Telegram has seen a large number of adoptions for its service since Park Geun-Hye (the South Korean President) announced that users could be prosecuted for insulting or generally rumour-mongering messages, including through private message systems. In the past two weeks alone, Telegram's service has seen a three-fold increase in sign-ups.

Tomorrow...we turn our attention to the last of Professor Buchannan’s three T’s with a look into Tor. 

Figure 5: Telegram
Figure 6: 100 million monthly active users
Figure 7: Telegram attack

William Buchanan LinkedIn:
Napier University   website:

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First published on Company Connecting October 2016
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