Even though there was no official statement on how Paris attackers communicated, Telegram, a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app, reported to have to blocked more than 160 terrorism related chanels. The Startup company, with their Head quarters in Berlin, tweeted, thanking users for their reports as a measure to help stop the spread terrorism propaganda.
Thanks to your reports, today we were able to block another 164 public channels used to spread terrorist propaganda. https://t.co/i0My3D4Nxa
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) November 19, 2015
So why did the ISIS prefer Telegram to any other messaging app? According to CNNMoney, Telegram had become popular among ISIS members for its promise of highly encrypted communication and prevent authorites from snooping on them and their activities. Apparently, the startup, has two layers of encryption and is said to be faster and more secure than its competitor WhatsApp. (How safe is safe? And who else is more safe? And why should we care?)
In another article by NBC Sandiego, Telegram also comes with a self-destruct timer which allows users to set a time for an instant message to automatically delete.
There is no doubt that Telegram’s encryption is solid. But, even though Telegram’s encryption is said to be secure, could there be any problems operational use of the program? Here is what Professor Matthew Green, a Cryptographer and a professor at Johns Hopkins University Tweeted about that.
@csoghoian @tqbf The UX is nice. The crypto is like being stabbed in the eye with a fork.
— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) November 17, 2015
On a separate tweet, Patel Durov, CEO of Telegram still maintains to continue block ISIS related chanels
Our policy is simple: privacy is paramount. Public channels, however, have nothing to do with privacy. ISIS public channels will be blocked.
— Pavel Durov (@durov) November 19, 2015
Still on encryption, on social media platforms, there are arguments about what technology the attackers might have used. Although some believe they communicated using encryption technology, there are others who dispute that. Techdirt tweeted an article, that the attackers had another technology in use -Apparently, they co-ordinated via unencrypted SMS (More here)
After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS https://t.co/nP6eLnRJwk
— techdirt (@techdirt) November 18, 2015
According to an article by The New York Times, Telegram along with other apps like Signal, Wickr, still remain some of the most powerful technologies and easily available encryption apps.