This is where I post thoughts about Telegram in a slightly less formal and more direct way than in...
Recent events showed once again that all WhatsApp users are at risk. My thoughts – https://telegra.ph/Why-Using-WhatsApp-Is-Dangerous-01-30-4
iCloud is now officially a surveillance tool. Apps that are relying on it to store your private messages (such as WhatsApp) are part of the problem https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-fbi-icloud-exclusive/exclusive-apple-dropped-plan-for-encrypting-backups-after-fbi-complained-sources-idUSKBN1ZK1CT
Telegram keeps growing at a rate of ~50% annually in DAU. This extraordinary growth, unfortunately, still comes with certain growing pains. Yesterday from 1PM to 2PM GMT about 15% of users who were online at that time experienced connection issues on Telegram. This disruption mainly affected users from Germany, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. We apologize for each of the messages we failed to deliver during that hour. We are striving to make our platform as reliable as possible. We are proud that, even despite some attempts to disrupt its availability (like the DDoS from China in June), every year Telegram becomes less prone to such issues.
In May, I predicted that backdoors in WhatsApp would keep getting discovered, and one serious security issue would follow another, as it did in the past . This week a new backdoor was quietly found in WhatsApp . Just like the previous WhatsApp backdoor and the one before it, this new backdoor made all data on your phone vulnerable to hackers and government agencies. All a hacker had to do was send you a video – and all your data was at the attacker’s mercy . WhatsApp doesn’t only fail to protect your WhatsApp messages – this app is being consistently used as a Trojan horse to spy on your non-WhatsApp photos and messages. Why would they do it? Facebook has been part of surveillance programs long before it acquired WhatsApp . It is naive to think the company would change its policies after the acquisition, which has been made even more obvious by the WhatsApp founder’s admission regarding the sale of WhatsApp to Facebook: “I sold my users’ privacy” . Following the discovery of this week’s backdoor, Facebook tried to confuse the public by claiming they had no evidence that the backdoor had been exploited by hackers . Of course, they have no such evidence – in order to obtain it, they would need to be able to analyze videos shared by WhatsApp users, and WhatsApp doesn’t permanently store video files on its servers (instead, it sends unencrypted messages and media of the vast majority of their users straight to Google’s and Apple’s servers ). So – nothing to analyze – “no evidence”. Convenient. But rest assured, a security vulnerability of this magnitude is bound to have been exploited – just like the previous WhatsApp backdoor had been used against human rights activists and journalists naive enough to be WhatsApp users . It was reported in September that the data obtained as a result of the exploitation of such WhatsApp backdoors will now be shared with other countries by US agencies . Despite this ever-increasing evidence of WhatsApp being a honeypot for people that still trust Facebook in 2019, it might also be the case that WhatsApp just accidentally implements critical security vulnerabilities across all their apps every few months. I doubt that – Telegram, a similar app in its complexity, hasn’t had any issues of WhatsApp-level severity in the six years since its launch. It’s very unlikely that anyone can accidentally commit major security errors, conveniently suitable for surveillance, on a regular basis. Regardless of the underlying intentions of WhatsApp’s parent company, the advice for their end-users is the same: unless you are cool with all your photos and messages becoming public one day, you should delete WhatsApp from your phone.  – Why WhatsApp will never be secure  – WhatsApp users urged to update app immediately over spying fears  – WhatsApp Android and iOS users are now at risk from malicious video files  – Everything you need to know about PRISM  – NSA taps data from 9 major Net firms  – WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton: 'I sold my users' privacy'  – Hackers can use a WhatsApp flaw in the way it handles video to take control of your phone  – WhatsApp is storing unencrypted backup data on Google Drive  – WhatsApp hack led to targeting of 100 journalists and dissidents  – Exclusive: Government officials around the globe targeted for hacking through WhatsApp - sources  – Police can access suspects’ Facebook and WhatsApp messages in deal with US  – Facebook, WhatsApp Will Have to Share Messages With U.K.
Telegram turns 6 years today. Throughout these years, Telegram stood up for freedom and privacy. We defended what we believe in against tyrannies, kleptocracies and corporations. Today, 6 years after launch, Telegram is the third largest global messaging app in terms of the number of countries where Telegram is in top 10 Social Networking apps. Let us celebrate today. Tomorrow we’ll get back to building new features. There’s a lot of exciting work left to do.
Those of you who follow my posts know that I’m a big believer in self-restraint. In the last 15 years, I’ve had no alcohol, no caffeine, no meat, no pills, and no fast food. Health-wise it brought good results: I only had a fever once in the last 15 years. Typically, I just don’t get ill. A year ago I added more restrictions to my diet: no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, no fructose. I did it to achieve higher productivity and clarity of thought, as well as to train will power and self-discipline. Another technique I employ to improve will power is swimming in ice-cold water every winter in Finland or Switzerland. If you ever faced the necessity to stay in a lake with a thin layer of ice on top for a few minutes, you are less likely to procrastinate when it comes to starting on a boring but necessary project. In May I limited the foods I eat to fish and seafood only. In case you have daily access to fresh wild-caught fish, I can definitely recommend this diet for boosting productivity. Unlike farmed meat or the products of agriculture, which were introduced to our diet fairly recently (like 15,000 years ago), wild fish cooked on fire is something our ancestors evolved to consume throughout the last million of years. As humans required a daily source of water, they had to live near rivers and lakes, so a seagan diet makes much more sense to me than veganism or rawism from an evolutionary perspective. This month I’m trying something more radical, with consuming no food at all. I’ve been on a water fast for the last 6 days and am feeling great so far. Since zero food consumption improves clarity of thought, I also got many things done on the product-management side. Fasting is a great way to allow your digestive system to clean and reboot, and also to allow your immune system to work on other things than clearing the constantly incoming food. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to do with no food for prolonged periods of time, so our body is not only evolved for that, but is actually expecting us to give it a break in consumption at least once a year. That’s why most religions have a tradition of fasting – it’s healthy and necessary both for the body and the mind. Obviously, I might lose some muscle mass as a result, but I believe that if I manage to come up with new great ideas for Telegram during the fast, it will be beneficial for all of the millions of Telegram users. And making the lives of our users more enjoyable has been and will be my number one priority.
Today the Russian authorities tried to hack 4 journalists covering the Ekaterinburg protests. Fortunately, all those attempts have failed due to the 2-step verification check. This serves as a reminder that authoritarian governments will stop at nothing to violate their citizens' privacy. We urge users in such countries to double check that they have 2-step verification set up. Stay safe and stay strong 💪🏾
I don’t like to focus on competitors. But since people keep asking me about WhatsApp, I have just written this post. It includes my thoughts on them. It also includes my thoughts on us. Enjoy. https://telegra.ph/Why-WhatsApp-Will-Never-Be-Secure-05-15
It’s been 23 years since I first used a private messaging service, and 16 years since I first built my own. The number of electronic private conversations I’ve had over those years is enormous. I am certain this is also the case for you. Over the last 10-20 years, each of us exchanged millions of messages with thousands of people. Most of those communication logs are stored somewhere in other people’s inboxes, outside of our reach. Relationships start and end, but messaging histories with ex-friends and ex-colleagues remain available forever. It’s getting worse. Within the next few decades, the volume of our private data stored by our chat partners will easily quadruple. An old message you already forgot about can be taken out of context and used against you decades later. A hasty text you sent to a girlfriend in school can come haunt you in 2030 when you decide to run for mayor. We have to admit: Despite all of our progress in encryption and privacy, we have very little actual control of our data. We can’t go back in time and erase things for other people. Well, we couldn’t. Until today. Starting today, we are allowing every Telegram user to delete any message in a private conversation from both sides. It doesn’t matter who sent the message and when – you have complete control over it. You can even wipe out the whole conversation from both sides if you want to. No trace will be left on either side. We know some people may get concerned about the potential misuse of this feature or about the permanence of their chat histories. We thought carefully through those issues, but we think having control over your own digital footprint should be paramount. Looking through my Telegram inbox now, there’s not much I would want to delete for both sides. And yet, for the first time in 23 years of private messaging, I feel truly free and in control.
I see 3 million new users signed up for Telegram within the last 24 hours. Good. We have true privacy and unlimited space for everyone.
Happy to announce the arrival of auto-playing videos on Telegram for iOS and Android. It's flavored with improved auto-download settings and multiple account support on all mobile platforms. Enjoy Telegram 5.4!
We’ve just started Instant View 2.0 Competition – our crowdsourcing contest with a prize fund of $300,000, ending on the 4th of April. The goal is to create sets of rules (“templates”) that are used to generate beautiful “Instant View” previews for links shared on Telegram. Anyone with an understanding of HTML/CSS can participate. Participants get $100 for each correct template + $10,000 and $5,000 to top 2 contributors. Check out the rules here – https://instantview.telegram.org/contest We’ll launch more similar competitions for developers soon. Eventually there’ll be a competition for everything we do (Android, C++, voice calls etc). Winners get mighty prizes and a chance to join our dev team. Stay tuned – we’ll announce the next competition within 10 days.
Yesterday we shipped the fourth major update of Telegram in the last 2 months. This time we radically improved chat backgrounds. It seems iOS users have to wait a while to get the update, because the App Store has been experiencing issues since yesterday. I expect that Apple is going to get their issues sorted out in the next few hours as Cupertino is waking up. Fortunately, Google doesn’t have such outages, so Android users can enjoy Telegram v5.3 right away. As for their less fortunate iOS counterparts, they are welcome to have a look at the sneak peak below to get a taste of what’s coming.
2018 was a great year for Telegram, but 2019 is going to be by far the most important one in our company's history. In 2018, more and more people discovered Telegram and switched to it from services run by ad-selling IT monopolies. As a result, Telegram became one of the few messaging apps that are enjoying significant growth globally. Building on the success of the last year, this year we are going to implement many long-awaited product changes you have been asking for. 2019 will be the time when feature-related wishes of our users come true.
My motto is “Never be afraid”. Even when an app's icons are trying to scare you. Happy Halloween! 🎃 P.S. To see those icons, you'll need to have the latest version of Telegram for iOS installed.