Telegram's creator Pavel Durov strongly criticized the instant messaging app WhatsApp for its vulnerability and lack of security. Durov argued that WhatsApp lets western intelligence agencies access the stored personal data of its users, whereas Telegram was able to stand strong against Russian government intrusions.
Durov blogged his opinions on Telegram, the platform he gave birth to. “Every time WhatsApp has to fix a critical vulnerability in their app, a new one seems to appear in its place,” he wrote.
According to Durov, it's hard to create an app to communicate discretely if you are in the USA.
He also explained that during the weeks passed in the US in 2016, he and his team intercepted up to three breaching attempts on their platform from the FBI. It's hard to imagine what could happen in the space of 10 years.
“All their security issues are useful when it comes to surveillance,” Durov stated.
“I understand security agencies justify planting backdoors by anti-terror efforts. The problem is such backdoors can also be used by criminals and authoritarian governments. No wonder dictators seem to love WhatsApp. Its lack of security allows them to spy on their own people, so WhatsApp continues being freely available in places like Russia or Iran, where Telegram is banned by the authorities”
WhatsApp had to ask more than 1.5 billion users worldwide to upgrade the app to fix a security problem. This occasion allowed a massive injection of sophisticated malware that could be used to spy on sensitive communications.
Backdoors are little strings of software used for covert remote access. They are installed intentionally from the programmers and they allow unnoticed access to data: “Differently from Telegram, WhatsApp does not publish its source code, so it's hard to verify if the coding includes backdoors” Durov explained.
“WhatsApp intentionally confuses its applications' files so that nobody can study them in detail. It is also plausible that WhatsApp and its parent-company Facebook specifically asked to install backdoors, and these orders could have been issued by the FBI, according to Durov.
We recently reported that anonymous bad actors had some malware installed on the smart-phones that are making WhatsApp calls. Both Android and iOS systems are vulnerable to these attacks.
Telegram on the other side gained 3 million users in 24h in March, when Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were experiencing difficulties.
Telegram was also able to resist a blocking ordered issued by the Russian authorities in 2018 when the company refused to give them access to user messages.