Built in 2013 by Russian app developers, the Durov brothers, Telegram was solely meant to protect users’ messages from being viewed by intelligence agencies.
With the ability to send encrypted messages that can self-destruct after a certain period, the application is a cross between Whatsapp and Snapchat. The application also boasts the ability to change its servers so that users cannot be traced.
However, this is a very lethal combination if it falls into the wrong hands. In 2016, there were allegations put forth in foreign media outlets like CNN that the application was being used by the Islamic State to communicate with their members to carry out attacks.
Along with the features of encryption and self-destructing messages, the app also allows users to send messages from the most remote regions and coordinate with groups of up to 5,000 members.
This conjures up an image of a troubling scenario. That of a terrorist hiding in a remote cave and sending instructions to thousands of his followers via encrypted self-destructive messages that law enforcement cannot read or decrypt.
According to recent reports, this application is being used by terrorists within Pakistan. A source privy to the development informed the media that intelligence agencies have sought the help of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in this regard. Security agencies in Lahore expressed their worrying suspicions that Telegram might be used by terrorists in Pakistan as it is in use in other places.
In response to the request, experts from FIA’s cyber crime unit apprised the intelligence officials about the application’s working and also advised them with regards to monitoring and arresting hostile elements using this application.
According to the source, the FIA unfortunately does not have any software or means to trace or decode the IP address of users on Telegram. He also said that the intelligence officials were trained on how to handle the application for 3-7 days and another training session would take place soon.
It is pertinent to mention that banned organisations in Pakistan are already using social media for communication and recruitment. Telegram supposedly provides them the upper hand when it comes to evading law enforcement agencies.—NNI