Friday, 12 August 2016

Hackers Breach the Ultra-Secure Messaging App Telegram in Iran

Telegram

Telegram Accounts Hacked – Susceptibility of SMS Text Message


According to Reuters, over a dozen Iranian Telegram accounts, like the messaging app having a focus on security have been compromised in the last year due to the susceptibility of an SMS text message.They have recognized around 15 million Iranian users’ phone numbers, which seems to be the biggest known breach of the encrypted communication systems as informed by cyber researchers to Reuters.

 According to independent cyber researcher Collin Anderson and Amnesty International technologist Claudio Guarnieri, studying Iranian hacking groups for three years has informed that the attack which had occurred this year, had not been reported earlier, has endangered the communication of activists, journalist together with several others in sensitive positions in Iran, where Telegram is said to be utilised by around 20 million users.

Telegram tends to endorses itself as an ultra-secure instant messaging system since all the data is encrypted from beginning to end which is known as end-to-end encryption. Various other messaging services comprising of Facebook Inc., WhatsApp state that they have the same proficiencies. Telegram, which is headquartered inBerlin, states that it has 100 million active subscribers and is extensively usedin Middle East, inclusive ofthe Islamic State militant group and in Central and Southeast Asia as well as Latin America.

Authorization Code –Diverted by Phone Company/Shared with Hackers


According to Anderson and Guarnieri, the susceptibility of Telegram is in its use of SMS text messages in activating new devices. When a user tends to log on to Telegram from a new phone, the company directs them with an authorization code through SMS which can be diverted by the phone company and shared with the hackers, according to the researchers.

Equipped with the codes, the hackers can now add new devices to the Telegram account of the user enabling them to read chat histories together with the new messages. Anderson had informed during an interview that they had over a dozen cases where Telegram accounts have been negotiated through ways that sound like fundamentally coordinated with the cellphone company.

According to the researchers, Telegram’s dependence on SMS verification tends to make it defenceless in any country where the cellphone companies are possessed or profoundly influenced by the government.

Iranian Hacking Group – Rocket Kitten


Telegram spokesman stated that customers could defend against these attacks by not relying on the verification of SMS. Telegram enables though it is not essential that customers create passwords which could be reset with the so-called recovery emails.

The spokesman, Markus Ra has informed that if one has a strong Telegram password and the recovery email is secure, the attackers can do nothing about it. The researchers believe that the Iranian hacking group Rocket Kitten is responsible for the Telegram breaches based on resemblances to the setup of past phishing attacks credited to the group.

There is a prevalent rumour that Rocket Kitten tends to have ties to the Iranian government. John Hultquist, managing the cyber espionage intelligence team at the security firm FireEye, of Rocket Kitten has informed that `their focus generally revolves around those with an interest in Iran and defense issues however their action is completely global. With regards to Telegram attacks, it has also been suggested by the researchers that SMS messages could have been conceded by Iranian cell phone companies, which is an industry that has prospective links with the government

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