Security & Fraud

Russian Memo Claims Telegram Secure Messaging App Was Hacked, Too

The unverified and often sensational memo covering attempts by Russia to hurt President-Elect Donald Trump also includes claims that Russia hacked into Telegram, a popular messaging app used by dissidents and other people who want to send text messages that are encrypted.

According to a report by Fortune, while the text messages are encrypted, the Russian spy service known as FSB reportedly figured out a way to circumvent the encryption feature. Based on the memo, Fortune reported Telegram was heavily targeted by FSB in part because it was used by internal political activists and oppositionists. With the FSB cracking the encryption software, the report noted it’s no longer safe to use. Fortune noted a Telegram spokesman told Business Insider the report of Russia hacking the messaging app is likely fake.

If the Telegram hack claim is indeed true, it wouldn’t be the first time it was compromised, reported Fortune. Last August, Telegram was reportedly compromised by the Iranian government, which intercepted SMS codes Telegram sent to users to activate the service. Hacking into a messaging system would be alarming to the industry given the likes of Facebook and Apple offering security features that make it incredibly hard to hack, according to the report.

During a press conference on Wednesday (Jan. 11), President-Elect Trump called reports Russians had compromised him ahead of the election “fake news” and acknowledged Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Trump claimed in the press conference the Russian intelligence memo published by BuzzFeed was created by political opponents and said it was a “disgrace.”


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