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Telegram becomes an alternative to the dark web for selling stolen data

Telegram becomes an alternative to the dark web for selling stolen dataTelegram has been increasingly used for data sales, malware distribution and other malicious actions

The Telegram closed August with 500 million active users. With so many people, it’s not surprising that there are “bad apples” making illicit use of the messenger. What worries is the fact that criminal activities are increasing there: a survey shows that access to the Telegram by cybercriminals has doubled in recent months, to the point that the platform is already considered an alternative to the dark web.At first glance, the comparison is strange, but it makes sense considering the dynamics of the main criminal activities. Hackers often use dark web pages and forums to trade malware, tools for cyber attacks and, most importantly, data stolen in intrusions.

See the REvil example. This is the name of one of the most dangerous ransomware gangs today. They took a break in July, but apparently got back on track this September . The group maintains pages on the dark web to expose samples of sensitive data captured in attacks and negotiate ransom payments with victims.How does the Telegram enter this story?

An investigation carried out by cyber intelligence company Cyberint in partnership with the Financial Times indicates that there is a growing network of hackers who use Telegram to share leaked data and carry out other illegal activities.Analysts realized that these actions are very similar to the data sale trades that are done via the dark web. “We’ve recently witnessed a more than 100 percent increase in the use of Telegram by cybercriminals,” reports Tal Samra, Cyberint’s Digital Threat Analyst.This doesn’t necessarily mean that the use of the dark web is declining, but that Telegram has proven to be a more interesting medium for hacking and the like.Among the data shared on the messaging service, Cyberint found email and password lists, credit card numbers, passport copies, credentials for services like Netflix, malware and guides to attacks.There are some reasons for choosing Telegram for these activities. One of them is the possibility of channels and groups with a very large number of participants to be created. Another is the messenger’s support for sharing bulky files.The encryption features and the lower probability of groups on Telegram being monitored by authorities compared to other services also appear to be attractive to hackers.Overall, Telegram is more convenient to use than the dark web, points out Samra, who also points out that the increase in illicit activity on the platform has coincided with searches for other messaging services after earlier this year the WhatsApp has announced changes to its privacy policy.Telegram claims it removes improperly shared data

The Financial Times reported that the Telegram has a policy of removing data when it is shared on its service without the consent of the holders.In addition, the platform revealed that its “growing team of professional moderators” removed more than 10,000 public communities for violation of terms of use after receiving user reports.A public channel found by Cyberint that sold sets with thousands of leaked data is among those closed by Telegram.Despite this, the increase in criminal activities on Telegram could increase the pressure for the service to be more rigorous in content moderation.

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