Whatsapp CEO: Telegram is insecure and serves as Russian spyware


Whatsapp Telegram
Image source: Techcrunch

The ongoing battle between two of the most popular messaging applications, WhatsApp and Telegram, has been a topic of discussion for years. However, recent developments have led to a change in the dynamic, with Will Cathcart, the Director of WhatsApp at Meta, speaking out against Telegram, one of the messaging app’s largest competitors. The primary point in the debate is the security and privacy features offered by each app.

Cathcart took advantage of an article in Wired magazine to launch an attack on Telegram. Stating that if users were planning to use the app for anything private. They should first understand the truth about its security. Cathcart pointed out that unlike WhatsApp, Telegram does not offer this feature for groups. Whatsapp offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default. Instead, Telegram only provides end-to-end encryption in secret chats.

Whatsapp head attacks Telegram

“Telegram is not end-to-end encrypted by default and offers no e2ee for groups. Telegram has the capacity to share nearly any confidential information a government requests”.

Telegram has defended its lack of encryption for groups. Stating that the difficulty involved in backups is the reason behind the feature. However, Telegram has accused Whatsapp of making a false claim regarding its E2EE encryption, stating that it is a trick. According to Telegram, “If your conversation on your Whatsapp partner is using Backup in Google Drive, Google has access to those messages. And therefore, any government that requests them from Google. So, E2E encryption is enabled in WhatsApp by default, but it’s immediately disabled. And there’s no way you can tell if your friends are using those backups or not”.

“Their e2ee protocols lack independent verification: “most disturbingly, some activists have found their “secret chats”—Telegram’s purportedly ironclad, end-to-end encrypted feature—behaving strangely, in ways that suggest an unwelcome third party might be eavesdropping.”

The lack of encryption in Telegram has been a topic of criticism for several years. And the recent article in Wired commented by Cathcart himself highlights the dangers of this lack of encryption. The article states that Telegram has the ability to share almost any confidential information that a government requests. Particularly Russian or Kremlin informants. Cathcart argues that Telegram lacks transparency, which most technology companies have embraced.

Telegram lacks real transparency most technology companies have adopted. “In many cases, it’s impossible to tell what’s really happening…whether spyware or Kremlin informants have been used to break in.”

CEO of Whatsapp: Telegram is unsafe and is a Russian spyware

The ongoing conflict between WhatsApp and Telegram has been given a new nuance due to the Russian-Ukrainian war. Cathcart claims that Telegram has put people in danger, with Wired’s report revealing that at the start of the war, it was possible to spoof Telegram’s Locations API to identify any user within a 2-mile radius if they had recently activated their location. Telegram’s privacy policy states that they have never handed over user data to governments, but news reports suggest otherwise.

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In addition to not securing people’s messages, Telegram’s blunders have put people at risk: “At the start of the war…it was possible to spoof Telegram’s locations API to pinpoint any user within a 2-mile radius if they had recently turned on their location.”

Cathcart recommends using encrypted messaging applications, with Signal being the application that is often considered the benchmark in terms of security and privacy. He advises users not to use Telegram and instead choose one of the other secure messaging applications.

The future of messaging applications is likely to see increased competition between WhatsApp and Telegram. There is no single answer to what the best messaging app is. And the ongoing debate between WhatsApp and Telegram highlights the different perspectives on what constitutes secure messaging. However, it is clear that Telegram’s lack of E2EE encryption by default has been a significant issue of conflict. Particularly when there are concerns about ties to Russia.

Whatsapp vs Telegram

WhatsApp and Telegram are two of the most popular messaging apps available today. Both offers features such as messaging, voice and video calls, group chats, and file sharing. However, there are some key differences between the two that may influence your choice of app.

One of the biggest differences between WhatsApp and Telegram is their approach to security. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption. This means that messages are encrypted on the sender’s device and can only be decrypted by the recipient. This ensures that only the sender and recipient can read the messages. Telegram also uses encryption, but it’s not enabled by default for all messages. Users have to manually enable “Secret Chats” to get end-to-end encryption.

Another difference is the size of file sharing. Telegram allows you to share larger files than Whatsapp. This can be particularly useful for sharing large files such as videos or presentations.

Telegram also has a unique feature called “Channels”. This allows users to broadcast messages to a large audience. Channels can have an unlimited number of subscribers, and messages can include text, photos, and videos. WhatsApp, on the other hand, has a limit of 1024 members for group chats.

Another difference between the two apps is their availability across platforms. WhatsApp is available on both iOS and Android, as well as on the web and recently on Windows. Telegram, on the other hand, is available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. This means that Telegram can be used on a wider range of devices and platforms.

Both WhatsApp and Telegram have their own strengths and weaknesses. WhatsApp is more popular, with over 2 billion active users worldwide, while Telegram has over 500 million active users. WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption provides greater security for users. While Telegram’s larger file sharing size and channels feature can be useful for specific use cases. Ultimately, the choice between the two apps will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

 

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