Edward Snowden flags Telegram over security concerns, but founder Durov disagrees

Telegram is facing criticism on Twitter over its claims that it is totally secure, and encrypted with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden also raising the issue

By: Tech Desk | Updated: December 20, 2015 2:03 pm
Telegram, Telegram vs Edward Snowden, Pavel Durov vs Edward Snowden, Telegram criticism, Telegram security features, Telegram security concern, Telegram app, technology, technology news NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has flagged Telegram over its security on Twitter, a charge that the app’s founder has denied.

Telegram, the rival messaging app to WhatsApp which recently hit headlines over its popularity with terror group ISIS, is facing criticism on Twitter over its claims of being secure and encrypted.

The concern over Telegram was first raised by Matasano Security’s firm’s Thomas H Ptacek who posted that the app “stores the plaintext of every message every user has ever sent or received” on its servers. According to Ptacek’s tweet, Telegram is not relying on encryption for the data it saves on its cloud servers, contrary to the app’s claims.

Read more: Paris attacks: Telegram acts after reports that ISIS using app for promotion

The tweet was then re-shared by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who posted, “I respect @durov, but Ptacek is right: @telegram’s defaults are dangerous. Without a major update, it’s unsafe.”

Check out Ptacek and Snowden’s tweets here:

Ptacek’s tweet has been retweeted over 500 times on the site and sparked a whole new conversation about the security of Telegram, and even WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum pitched in around this.  Ptacek’s point is that Telegram is storing each and every message on its servers without encryption and that this poses a security risk.

Also see: Telegram introduces 1000 member Supergroups, group admin feature

However Pavel Durov, Telegram’s founder disagreed with the criticism against his app and pointed out that the server-storage bit only applies to the regular chat and that the secret chat feature does not have a cloud sync. In the past, Durov has referred to Snowden as his personal hero.

Durov tweeted, ” Skipping the sarcastic part: users who don’t need cloud sync or do not trust us, use secret chats.” He also denied that the app was storing “plaintext of messages” and said that Ptacek’s statement was false, adding that “deleted messages are erased forever.”

Check out his tweet below:

But Durov’s reply that the app doesn’t store the messages hasn’t convinced all. London-based Mustafa Al-Bassam asked on Twitter, “How can http://web.telegram.org work while the phone is off then,” to which WhatsApp’s Jan Koum replied saying that unlike Telegram, WhatsApp for web won’t work without a phone as they don’t store any chat history on their servers.

Koum tweeted, “that is exactly why WhatsApp web client doesn’t work w/o your phone – because we don’t store you chat history on our servers :) ”

Interestingly WhatsApp has been accused of blocking links to the Telegram app on Android. Telegram claims to have over 60 million monthly users.

Telegram co-founder’s reply hasn’t convinced critics, who are pointing out that the default settings in the app are not really that secure.

Read more WhatsApp blocking links to rival app Telegram on Android phones 

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