Telegram, an important messaging application focused on privacy, has suffered a data leak that exposed some personal data of its users in the darknet.
A database containing the personal data of millions of Telegram users has been posted on a darknet forum. The problem was initially reported by Russian technology publication Kod.ru on Tuesday.
According to the report, the database contains unique Telegram phone numbers and user IDs. It is not clear exactly how much user data was leaked while the database file is approximately 900 megabytes.
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About 40% of the entries in the database should be relevant
Telegram would have acknowledged the existence of the leaked database to Kod.ru. The database was compiled by operating the built-in Telegram contact import function at the time of registration, according to Telegram reports.
Telegram pointed out that the data in the filtered database are outdated. According to the report, 84% of the data entries in the database were collected before mid-2019. As such, at least 60% of the database is outdated, Telegram stated in the report.
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In addition, 70% of the leaked accounts came from Iran, while the remaining 30% were based in Russia.
As we go to press, Telegram has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comments. This article will be updated if you respond.
Only the latest leak
This is not the first time that the telephone numbers of Telegram users have been filtered out. In August 2019, activists in Hong Kong reported a vulnerability that exposed their phone numbers, allowing Chinese law enforcement agencies to trace the identities of the protesters.
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In response to the vulnerability, Telegram expanded user privacy tools in September 2019. Specifically, Telegram introduced a feature that allows users not to show their phone number to anyone. The description of the function reads:
“If you set who can see my phone number to ‘No one,’ a new option will appear below, allowing you to control its visibility to those who already have it. Setting Who can find me by my number in ‘My contacts’ will ensure that random users who add their number as a contact cannot match their profile to that number.
The report comes shortly after Russian authorities lifted a two-year ban on the Telegram application in the country. Subsequently, some reports described certain anomalies in Telegram that allegedly compromised the security of its customers.