After WhatsApp announced new policy changes people started rapidly joining Telegram. Just within a few days, Telegram’s user base reached the 500 million mark. As Telegram marks itself as a more secure alternative to WhatsApp, is it really a better and safer version of WhatsApp as claimed?
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Who and When
Telegram is a free to use cloud-based messaging platform, launched in 2013 by Pavel Durov. The messaging platform is available as a mobile and as a desktop application. Though it was launched in Russia, Pavel Durov moves the team members periodically ‘to protect the employees’ from unnecessary influence’ and for other security reasons. Telegram’s CEO does not disclose the headquarters’ whereabouts, but the recent information claims that the team is currently based in Dubai.
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WhatsApp vs Telegram
Both of the apps offer chat, group chat, voice and video calling features. Besides that, Telegram offers such tool as channels, where you can broadcast messages to the public. Unlike WhatsApp groups, Telegram channels do not have a subscribers limit. Besides, Telegram has got other features like bots, quizzes and hashtags, which makes the app more fun to use.
In terms of security, initially, channels, as well as chats, do not have end-to-end encryption. Telegram’s chats are only encrypted if you open a secret chat for every contact separately. In secret chats no third parties can decrypt your and your chat partner’s content. You will be notified if your chat partner took a screenshot of your secret chat conversation as well. WhatsApp, for its part, provides end-to-end encryption since 2016 as a default option for both standard and group chats.
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Both of the apps collect metadata, users’ IP address, and the device type. As we mentioned above, Telegram does not encrypt standard chats by default, meaning Telegram might have the access to the content of the messaging. Other than that, Data scientists show it is possible to get such information as user’s information, chat, and messages with some programming knowledge.
As you can see, Telegram has some gaps in its security system. That is why users should take some precautions like using another phone number only for Telegram, you can also use a VPN to mask your IP address.