According to a cybersecurity study of the messaging platform, millions of people’s private data is being shared openly on groups and channels with thousands of members.
Telegram – A new dark web alternative for cybercriminals
According to reports, cybercriminals are using Telegram to “exchange and discuss” big data leaks that could expose millions of people to new levels of online fraud, hacking, and attack, according to vpnMentor researchers.
In order to witness these “illicit exchanges” between threat actors and themselves firsthand, vpnMentor’s team joined several cybercrime-focused groups and channels on Telegram.
They saw hackers “openly sharing data dumps on channels” with over 10,000 members, which was not unusual.
These “shady users” don’t hold back when it comes to explaining how these data dumps might be exploited.
Historically, data dumps like these have been traded on the dark web.
Moving these conversations to Telegram has a number of benefits, including protecting the privacy of its users.
In addition, compared to the dark web, Telegram has a lower barrier to entry, and this messaging network is immune to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which can affect how cybercriminals operate on the regular website.
According to the vpnMentor report, Telegram has taken “limited steps” to eliminate hacking-related groups, but this hasn’t made much of an impact.
NortonLifeLock recently conducted a similar research and discovered evidence of a growing illegal market on Telegram, where unscrupulous people sell everything from Covid-19 vaccines and personal information to pirated software and fake IDs.
In recent months, NortonLifeLock discovered multiple accounts dedicated to selling “COVID-19 vaccines,” with people in the United States, China, India, Malaysia, and Russia as targets.
NoronLifeLock’s cybersecurity researchers stated that, “Cybercriminals sell illegal goods for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes, the goods are fake or counterfeit, leading to easy profits. In other cases, cybercriminals are trying to launder credit cards, or stolen gift cards, into money they can use”.
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