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152168089 story
Crime

Telegram has exploded as a hub for cybercriminals looking to buy, sell and share stolen data and hacking tools, new research shows, as the messaging app emerges as an alternative to the dark web. From a report: An investigation by cyber intelligence group Cyberint, together with the Financial Times, found a ballooning network of hackers sharing data leaks on the popular messaging platform, sometimes in channels with tens of thousands of subscribers, lured by its ease of use and light-touch moderation. In many cases, the content resembled that of the marketplaces found on the dark web, a group of hidden websites that are popular among hackers and accessed using specific anonymising software. "We have recently been witnessing a 100 per cent-plus rise in Telegram usage by cybercriminals," said Tal Samra, cyber threat analyst at Cyberint.

"Its encrypted messaging service is increasingly popular among threat actors conducting fraudulent activity and selling stolen dataâ... as it is more convenient to use than the dark web." The rise in nefarious activity comes as users flocked to the encrypted chat app earlier this year after changes to the privacy policy of Facebook-owned rival WhatsApp prompted many to seek out alternatives. Launched in 2013, Telegram allows users to broadcast messages to a following via "channels," or create public and private groups that are simple for others to access. Users can also send and receive large data files, including text and zip files, directly via the app.