According to a study by Cyberint and Financial Times According to reports, a rapidly growing network of hackers is using the popular messenger for illegal activities such as selling stolen data. According to the report, there are channels for this, some of which have tens of thousands of subscribers. However, Telegram is becoming a competitor for classic channels of the cyber underground not only thanks to encryption. "It's more convenient to use than the dark web," Samra says. That's because the service is more accessible and offers more functionality. In addition, it is not yet as targeted by authorities as the classic dark web.
According to Cyberint, the number of mentions of "email:pass" and "combo" - hacking terms that suggest stolen email credentials - quadrupled in a year on Telegram. A public channel called "combolist," where hackers trade lists of hundreds of thousands of credentials, had over 47,000 subscribers - but was removed by Telegram after the Financial Times for a comment. In addition to access data, various other things such as credit card data, Netflix accounts and hacking tools are also offered for sale on Telegram.
A look at the classic dark web also shows how strongly the importance of Telegram is growing for cyber gangsters. In 2020, there were 172,035 links to Telegram groups and channels in relevant forums. This year, according to Cyberint, there were already over one million such links. The anonymity of the encrypted service and the rather lax moderation of the Dubai-based service are probably partly responsible for this.
However, the platform stressed in a comment to the Financial Timesthat there was a policy to remove data shared without consent. An "ever-growing team of professional moderators" removes more than 10,000 public communities every day due to user complaints about violations of the usage guidelines. (pte)