Telegram is encrypted, private, secure, and independent, making it a better alternative to WhatsApp, which is owned by data-harvesting Facebook.
While all Telegram messages are encrypted, they’re only encrypted while in transit from your device to Telegram’s servers. Once your data arrives on Telegram servers, it's decrypted and could be seen by Telegram. This is why end-to-end encryption is so important.
But is Telegram end-to-end encrypted?
Telegram’s usual private and group chats aren't end-to-end encrypted, only secret chats are. This means that your conversations and personal information can be stored on Telegram’s servers and accessed by staff and third parties.
If you want complete privacy, use Telegram’s secret chat option. All of your data, including text, media, and files, are encrypted with an extra layer of client-client encryption. And no media or files that you send or receive via Telegram can be deciphered and intercepted by your internet service provider, owners of Wi-Fi routers you connect to, or other third parties.
Telegram’s secret chats:
Good to know: Secret chats are not part of the Telegram cloud and can only be accessed on the device which the chat took place on.
In fact, Telegram records and stores your IP address, device information, and username changes for up to 12 months.
As a public messaging app, Telegram is also required to investigate concerning matters and provide your phone number and IP address to the authorities if legally asked to do so.
When an app says that it’s “open source,” it means that the code that makes up the app can be inspected by the public and security experts for weaknesses. This factor obviously helps make the app more secure and honest.
But there’s a small issue. Telegram uses a unique encryption protocol known as MTProto.
MTProto was developed by Telegram, and it’s the only company that uses the protocol. This means that it hasn’t been tested as much as other more common protocols. So if there IS a vulnerability in MTProto, we wouldn’t really know about it.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Telegram but still want to stay private and secure, you have plenty of options.
Here are 3 secure messaging apps to choose from:
Despite being owned by Facebook, WhatsApp’s default end-to-end encryption can arguably protect users from Facebook spies.
Signal is probably your best bet in terms of security and easily defeats the Signal vs. Telegram debate. Here’s why:
WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted by default unlike Telegram, where you may accidentally expose your chats if you forget to use the “secret chat” function. However, WhatsApp IS owned by Facebook, one of the world’s biggest data collectors – a reason to be cautious.
Signal offers the best of both: it is end-to-end encrypted by default, lets you hide your chats even from Signal itself, and is independently owned.
For absolute anonymity, use a burner sim when signing up to use messaging apps so you don’t get tracked through your normal phone number. Your messaging app should always be end-to-end encrypted for both one-on-one chats AND group chats. If it is, we’re more likely to give it our seal of approval.
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