Telegram has made a name for itself in being a highly secure messaging platform. Perhaps too secure that it was recently kicked out of the iTunes App Store by Apple following reports it has become a haven for sick people sharing child pornography. Additionally, there are reports that ISIS has found it to be a very reliable messaging platform as it has proven too tough a nut-to-crack for anti-terrorism authorities.
That is why it is very astonishing that hackers have found a way to exploit it to implant crypto miners on users’ PCs to mine digital currencies like Monero, Fantomcoin, and Zcash among others. This revelation was made by Kaspersky, who discovered a vulnerability in the desktop app of Telegram.
Kaspersky says the desktop app has a vulnerability that allowed attackers to trick Telegram users into downloading malicious files, which upon their installation delivered cryptocurrency mining software and other forms of spyware. The attackers then remotely used the computers on which their malware was implanted to mine the cryptos. Kaspersky furthers says it found a stolen cache of data from Telegram in one of these attackers’ servers.
Sneaky cryptocurrency mining hijacks are nothing new, but attackers using a highly secure platform like Telegram rises a lot of eyebrows. Telegram, which is loved and hated by the law authority in equal measures, is too encrypted that it has become common with individuals who have things they need to hide from the law authorities.
Upon unearthing this zero-day vulnerability, Kaspersky reached out to Telegram, and the company issued a patch to fix the flaw. Alexey Firsh, a Malware Analysts at Kaspersky, said:
“The popularity of instant messenger services is incredibly high, and it’s extremely important that developers provide proper protection for their users so that they don’t become easy targets for criminals.”