How successful is Telegram Messenger
The information portal for safe cell phone use
This is Telegram
The messenger Telegram is offered by the two Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Pavel also founded the social network VKontakte, which was very successful in Russia. After several changes of location, Telegram's headquarters are in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to the website.
According to the company, the app had more than 500 million users in January 2021. Telegram's Android app ranks in the Play Store in the "more than 500 million downloads" category.
The app is available for iPhones in Apple's App Store, for Android in the Google Play Store and in a slightly different form in the alternative store F-Droid (see below). You can also use the app or web access to view and send messages from your computer.
According to Telegram, it has no commercial interests. The founder Pavel Durov is currently financing the development of the app from his assets. In the long run, think about paid additional functions. The providers exclude advertising and the sale of data.
No Google or Apple account is required to use Telegram. Registration takes place via your own telephone number.
Encryption at Telegram
The app is encrypted for transport by default. This means that the app encrypts the chats from the mobile device to the server and saves them in the provider's cloud. Advantage: You can access all of your chats from different devices without having to create a backup. Disadvantage: Telegram itself could theoretically read your messages and pass them on to authorities.
In a test, the technology magazine Heise was able to show that every typed chat message is sent directly to the Telegram server, even if it is not sent.
However, since March 2019, Telegram has allowed messages to be deleted as long as required - including on the recipient's devices. Then the messages also disappear from the cloud.
You can create "secret chats" in order to completely prevent third parties from reading it. To do this, navigate to. Storage in the cloud is then dispensed with and the conversation is encrypted end-to-end. These conversations cannot be backed up.
Audio and video calls are end-to-end encrypted as standard, Telegram is currently working on a function for video conferences. The messenger offers a self-destruct function for messages and the possibility to protect chats with a PIN. Group chats cannot be encrypted end-to-end.
Data and security
It is possible to share your own address book for Telegram. Your contacts are then stored on Telegram's servers. On Android, however, Telegram can also be used without access to the phone's contacts, which is rather inconvenient in everyday life.
On Android devices, the app asks you to access the contacts at the beginning. Then just click instead of on. In our test on an iPhone, it was possible to receive and reply to messages from other Telegram users without authorized contact access. But you couldn't add numbers or start a chat yourself.
How Telegram handles the information, who communicates with whom and when, is not known. Telegram also says nothing about the storage of location data. This would be particularly interesting because since June 2019 the service has been offering location-based services with the "local groups" and "people nearby" function, for which the messenger queries the location of the device.
Telegram states that it has not yet passed on any user data to authorities, as its servers are distributed in many countries and therefore judicial decisions from several countries would have to be available.
Telegram offers the option of creating very large chat groups and news channels and sending messages to thousands of recipients at the same time. Content on Telegram is not moderated. That is why the app is also widespread among supporters of conspiracy myths and right-wing extremists. The general search function often shows channels with radical content even if you search your conversations for harmless terms.
Variant of the Android app in F-Droid
Telegram released the software of its app via an open source model. This means that external developers can view and check the software and use it for their own programs. This is why Telegram for Android can also be obtained from the alternative app store F-Droid. However, the part of the software that is executed by Telegram servers cannot be checked by third parties.
The developers of F-Droid have modified the Telegram app slightly and removed various non-open source building blocks, for example the location service of the Google Play services and the push service of Google. This is particularly useful for users of alternative Android operating systems who want to cut off all data flows to Google as possible.
Telegram: pros and cons
- End-to-end encryption for audio and video telephony
- Open source code (only app, not server infrastructure)
- Can be used on Android without a Google account
- Auto destroy timer for messages
- Messages can be deleted afterwards (not in secret chats)
- F-Droid version
- Can only be used with a telephone number
- No standard end-to-end encryption for chats
- Group chats can never be encrypted end-to-end
- Little information about the storage of metadata
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