Telegram has seen an increase in cybercrime
Telegram has seen an increase in cybercrime

New research shows that Telegram has become a hub for cybercriminals to buy, sell and share stolen data and hacking tools as messaging apps become an alternative to the dark web.

Research by cyberintelligence organization Cyberint has found that a bloated network of hackers share data leaks on popular messaging platforms, sometimes on a channel with tens of thousands of subscribers, drawn to easy communication and slight forgetfulness.

In many cases, the content is similar to that of the dark web market.

"We have recently seen a 100 percent increase in the use of this app by cybercriminals," Cyberint said. Encrypted messaging services are becoming increasingly popular with threat actors who engage in fraudulent activities and sell stolen data because they are more convenient to use than the dark web.

Earlier this year, after changes to WhatsApp's privacy policy prompted many to seek alternatives, users flocked to encrypted chat apps and increased activity.

Launched in 2013, Telegram allows users to send messages to subscribers on multiple channels or to create public and private groups that others can easily access.

Users can also send and receive large data files, including text and ZIP files directly from the app.

Telegram is easier to use than the dark web

SensorTower data shows that the platform had more than 500 million active users and the number of downloads in August exceeded one billion.

However, its use by cybercriminals could put pressure on the platform to intensify monitoring of its content. It plans to go public in the future and is considering including advertising in its services.

According to Cyberint, the number of citations on the platform for both "email:pass" and "combo" (the language hackers use to refer to stolen mailing lists and shared passwords) has quadrupled over the past year, reaching nearly 3,400 times .

And on one of the public platform channels with more than 47 thousand subscribers. Hackers sell or distribute large amounts of data for hundreds of thousands of leaked usernames and passwords.

An article titled "Combo List Gaming HQ" displayed up to 300,000 emails and passwords. He said they were useful for hacking video game platforms like Minecraft, Origin or Uplay.

Another article states that 600,000 users have logged into the Russian Internet giant's Yandex service.

However, email password leakage is only a small part of the worrying activity in the Telegram marketplace.

The study found that other types of data used include financial data such as credit card information. and copies of passports and vouchers for bank accounts and websites such as Netflix.

Cyberint said: “Cybercriminals use the app to share evidence of malware, exploits, and hacking attacks.

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