Data Leak Of Telegram User Base

Telegram user base with the data of million users has appeared in the dark net. (The “dark” segment of the internet. You can find more information about it in the article Dark Web vs Deep Web: What is Each and How Do They Work.)

Representatives of the company have reported that more than 60% of the stolen information contained outdated information.

Telegram user base: What’s happening?

According to the source, the database was published on one of the dark net forums. The data file took up about 900 MB. Users who found out this information checked the data using known nicknames in Telegram. They could find users’ phone numbers, additional ID data, and the numbers of editorial staff in the published file.

Besides, now, the unique IDs of messenger users are actually freely available. It is not clear how many Telegram users have been included in the published database yet.

Comment from Telegram

Telegram press service has commented on this incident. They confirmed the reality of the existence of this database and its leakage but refused to admit that hackers can really be interested in the data. According to the report, such databases usually contain matching “phone number—user ID in Telegram.” The built-in contact import feature collects this information during the registration process of a user.

At the same time, a representative of Telegram said that the previously taken measures for additional data protection worked. Most of the accounts in the published database—about 60%—contain already outdated information.

Fail protection of Telegram user base

In addition, they added that in 2019, they took measures to classify users’ mobile numbers. But even such measures cannot completely protect the user when importing contacts.

“After messages from Hong Kong, we added the “Who can add me to contacts by phone number” setting. This setting allows dissidents and activists of protest movements to hide the connection between their accounts and phone numbers completely. But for ordinary users, it becomes difficult to use Telegram as they become “invisible” even for those who know their phone number.” the company noted.

According to preliminary data, about 70% of merged accounts belong to users from Iran, the rest from Russia. However, more than half (about 60%) of them are no longer relevant.

“This may indicate that last year we managed to significantly reduce the scale and speed of this type of abuse,” the press service reported.


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