How to communicate in Telegram safely and confidentially
It’s a good time to tell you what you need to do to make communicating in Telegram truly safe and private.
Most importantly: end-to-end encryption in Telegram is not used by default
The first thing to know about Telegram is that cloud chats – which is what Telegram calls the default type of chats – do not use end-to-end encryption.
That said, end-to-end encryption does exist in Telegram – you just need to turn it on separately. So if you value your data privacy, you should remember to use chats with end-to-end encryption enabled – Telegram calls them “secret” chats.
In “secret” chats, message text, pictures, videos, and all other files are transmitted using end-to-end encryption. Only the interlocutors have the decryption key – so Telegram can’t access this data.
Moreover, the contents of “secret” chats are not stored on Telegram’s servers. “Secret” chats are stored only on correspondents’ devices – as a result, they cannot be accessed from another device, plus they disappear when you quit Telegram and uninstall the app.
Telegram security settings
The first thing to do is to make sure that someone doesn’t read your correspondence when you accidentally leave your unlocked device unattended. To do this, on the tab that opens, select Code-Password, click Enable Code-Password, think of a pin code that you won’t forget, set it and confirm it.
After that, select Auto-Lock and set some small value – one minute or five. If your device supports fingerprint or facial recognition login, you can enable the corresponding option here as well.
Next, it’s worth securing your account against hijacking using two-factor authentication. Since the primary method of confirming login to a Telegram account is a one-time code in an SMS, the messenger prompts you to set a password as the second factor.
To do this, on the Privacy tab, select Two-step authentication (in Android) or Cloud password (in iOS) and set the password.
Privacy settings in Telegram
To avoid sharing unnecessary information with all 500 million Telegram users, I recommend these settings:
Phone number -> Who sees my phone number – Nobody.
Phone number -> Who can find me by number – My contacts.
Last activity -> Who sees when I’m online – Nobody.
Profile picture -> Who sees my picture – My contacts.
Calls -> Who can call me – My contacts (or Nobody if you are not interested in this feature at all).
Calls -> Peer-to-peer – My contacts (or Nobody if you prefer not to share your IP address information with your contacts).
Forwarding messages -> Who can link to my account when forwarding messages – My contacts.
Groups and Channels -> Who can invite me – My contacts.
Telegram security for the most careful
The above tips should be enough for most users, but for the more cautious ones we have a few more recommendations:
1) Use a separate phone number to sign in to Telegram. Or maybe even a virtual phone number instead of a real mobile number.
2) Turn on trusted VPNs to hide your IP address – Telegram may report it, for example, if requested by law enforcement.
Tip from ILLUMINATE No system is safe in the digital age. Remember that there is no such thing as complete anonymity. Anonymity is the absence of data to identify yourself. It simply can not be in today’s world. Anonymity is a good imitation of an ordinary but not a real identity