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Telegram the 'New Dark Web' for Cybercriminals Trading in Data, Study Finds

·2 min read

An investigation conducted by The Financial Times alongside cyber intelligence group Cyberint has revealed that Telegram has become a hotbed of hackers and cybercriminals looking to trade in stolen data.

The instant messaging platform has emerged as an alternative to the notorious dark web, the study posits.

The research has observed a growing network of hackers dealing in the sale, purchase, and sharing of leaked data on Telegram, in public channels that include up to tens of thousands of subscribers.

“We have recently been witnessing a 100 percent-plus rise in Telegram usage by cybercriminals,” said Tal Samra, a cyber threat analyst at Cyberint was quoted as saying by Financial Times.

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The number of mentions of hacker jargon, “Email:pass” and “Combo” – which are used to refer to abstracted email IDs and passwords – have increased by four times in the past year.

In addition to usernames and passwords, leaked data containing credit card details, copies of personal documents such as passports, and credentials for online websites such as Netflix have also been traded on Telegram channels, FT reported.

The ease of use of Telegram, which has an encrypted messaging service, offers a more conducive platform for fraudulent schemes than the dark web.

Telegram had seen a surge in the number of users earlier this year, as widespread discontentment with WhatsApp's privacy policy changes had driven many to seek alternatives.

According to data from SensorTower, Telegram presently has over 5 million active users.

(With inputs from Financial Times)

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