Mobile Darknet: Criminals warn against Telegram messenger

Telegram, a messenger service invented by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov in 2013 and now used by more than 300 million people worldwide, is increasingly becoming a criminal communication system and a mobile darknet that trades drugs, counterfeit money, malware, etc. Messenger is now a huge problem for criminals


Telegram advertises above all that - unlike Google or Facebook - privacy is not severely restricted. "Here at Telegram, we think that real privacy is a precious and above all worthy of protection, and the following two points should instead be a top priority: protecting private conversations from third parties, such as public authorities, employers, etc., and protecting private data from third-party companies, such as marketing agencies, advertising companies, etc." Even if you find illegal content as a user, Telegram does not become active. "All Telegram and group chats are the private matter of the respective users and we do not accept any requests to process them." In other words, police questions are ineffective and are simply not answered. This is why the company is headquartered in Dubai.

The fact that the Messenger service is currently mutating into a mobile darknet probably also has to do with some other exciting details: Since the Telegram version 5.5. everyone can delete all his messages at any time - both those that he has sent or received in a chat with another, as well as the entire conversation history from both sides. Without a trace! For the police, it seems clear that Telegram is mutating into the new mobile dark web because it can be used more easily than the marketplaces on the darknet. The Durow brothers' messenger system is probably the most anonymous service available at the moment. Almost logically, he finds more and more fans.

Completely anonymous
There are several reasons why this service is booming. You don't need your own Tor browser, which is usually necessary to get to the Dark Web, you just use the app, because in Telegram itself there are enough dark offers. Within Telegram, you can act in individual and group chats, relatively unnoticed by police control. Using the search function, however, it is also very easy to find chat groups in which, for example, illegal goods are traded. You only need to know which terms you need to type in to land a hit. For example, if you type in "Crystal Meth", you will immediately see chat groups in which the drug is discussed and also dealt. If you search for Black Market you get offers like you know them from the darknet - i.e. drugs, credit card data, weapons, documents, access data to various accounts, from Spotify to Netflix to sites etc. And if you want to see more than three hits, you can easily ask Google. More extensive results are delivered there.

Easy drug search
The black market on Telegram works almost too easily. So if you search for "Crystal Meth" in the search bar, as already indicated, you get some hits. Click on one of the hits and get into one of thousands of channels with various offers in text form, photos, and videos. In these channels, you can send public messages to a large audience, as channels can have an unlimited number of members. There, for example, one can, quite frankly, throw the question into the round: "Who sells ketamine in Vienna?" Or: "Search Gorilla Glue!" The answers usually come relatively quickly. As a confidential message. However, the names of the providers are also displayed in the offers. If you write them directly in a secret chat, you can order.

From Dark Jobs
But there is more than just coke and XTC on Telegram. If you search for "Dark Jobs" or "Dark Work", you get job offers (usually in Russian). As the name suggests, the messages in the "Dark Jobs" channel usually contain "dark" job vacancies, which are also marked in color. For example, if a job published on this channel is illegal and dangerous, it is marked as "black". Less dangerous places are marked "grey" or "white". For the black jobs, insiders are often sought in various companies or organizations - from industrial corporations to banks - who are willing to obtain sensitive information and data for certain sums of money, secret, personal and company-internal.

With the help of illegally obtained data - keyword social engineering - further criminal acts are then committed, or the data is sold again expensively on the black market. Hacker services and hacking tools that can be used to crack systems are also part of the dark offering. The objectives of the hacker attacks are clear: the spectrum ranges from banks in whose systems malware is injected, to inside information, which can be used, for example, for investments in the stock market. Employees of mobile operators are particularly in demand in the "job advertisements". Not only do they have access to millions of phone numbers, but also call logs and other personal information that can be used, for example, to locate specific people. In other job offers, you look for so-called info-stealers who collect documents or passwords or take screenshots of certain files.

From Russia to the Rest of the World
Services of this kind are flourishing, especially in Russia, but the offers are already spilling over to the rest of the world. Since security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies have already discovered similar channels in other languages, it is expected that this type of black job advertisement will soon be common in other countries. In the Arab world, channels such as AmirHack have already come across channels in which not only jobs, but also tips, tricks and VPN solutions are betrayed and sold in order to be able to use the strictly regulated web in the Arab world anonymously.

The greatest danger of this development is that these systems are so simple to use that it is to be assumed that cybercrime will increase sharply very soon. Chats that are accessible to anyone who owns a smartphone, and where you can search for everything and everyone, are not just a sign of freedom and diversity, they carry a lot of dangers. Even inexperienced users have access to dangerous tools, malware and illegal sources of money.


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