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Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram

Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service and identified the phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users, the largest known breach of the encrypted communications system

The attacks, which took place this year and have not been previously reported, jeopardized the communications of activists, journalists and other people in sensitive positions in Iran, where Telegram is used by some 20 million people, said independent cyber researcher Collin Anderson and Amnesty International technologist Claudio Guarnieri, who have been studying Iranian hacking groups for three years.

Telegram - prides itself on private messaging that lets activists escape government censorship and crackdowns.

Security researchers speaking to Reuters say that an Iranian hacking group has not only breached over a dozen Telegram accounts, but identified the phone numbers of over 15 million of the service's users in the country. The intruders reportedly intercepted SMS authentication codes and used those to add devices to their accounts, letting them read messages and impersonate others. To get the phone numbers, they took advantage of a Telegram programming interface.

It tells Reuters that you can protect against these attacks by creating a strong password (which is strictly optional) that would add a layer of security.


It's not certain that the Iranian government is behind the attacks. However, the culprits (Rocket Kitten) have launched phishing campaigns that reflect official "interests and activities," according to the researchers. Also, the compromised targets included members of both opposition and reform groups -- and it's safe to say that some of those 15 million phone numbers could expose other activists and journalists.

source: REUTERS,

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