Telegram appeared long after the generation of messengers, as a separate class of applications, that are so popular and used by a large number of users. It also did not bring any real innovations and could not boast with an outstanding design. It’s just good in every sense, and that’s why it gained recognition and popularity.
The idea and the start of the project
Telegram was launched in 2013 when WhatsApp, Viber, and Line have actively expanded and attracted hundreds of thousands of daily users. It was created by Russian developer and entrepreneur, founder of the popular CIS social network VK, Pavel Durov, together with his brother, Nikolai Durov.
As Pavel later told, the idea for the app came to his mind after security services come to the doors of his office, and when, trying to connect with brother, he realized that he had no ability to do this safely and confidentially.
Nikolai Durov created the Protocol MTProto, which uses several of the principles of encryption to provide maximum protection of user accounts and correspondence. Pavel Durov, in turn, engaged in investments and infrastructure for the new application. It officially became available in August 2013, exclusively for the iOS platform. Later, there was a release for Android, and in October the number of active users numbered was a hundred of thousands.
Despite the fact that Pavel and Nikolai Durov were born and all their youth spent in Russia, the application itself is not even translated into Russian language. This is due to the fact that in his last months as CEO of VK, Pavel was strongly pressured by the government and intelligence agencies, and he said several times that not want to do business in this country. The headquarters of the
Telegram is located in Berlin, and the team is constantly moving around the world.
The idea of the Telegram app is reflected in its functionality and features. First and foremost, the messenger of Pavel Durov is known as one of the most protected in the world. The developer has repeatedly offered the opportunity to try to read the correspondence of bots or hack the chat of two brothers, promising incredible 200,000 dollars for this.
And only one enthusiast managed to do it, only a halfway. He found a loophole in the protocol, but never got the messages, that’s why he got only the half of the claimed amount.
Overall, the app itself is growing quite actively. So, in March 2014 there were 35 million users, who opened the app at least once a month, and 15 million of those, who communicated via Telegram every day. In February 2016, the developers have announced that every month, the application is used by 100 million people. The growth rate is about 350 000 daily users. And there are about 15 billion messages sent every day.
The principle of registration and setting up your own account to work with Telegram doesn’t different from that one in other popular messengers. The connection is made via a mobile phone, and thus, contact list becomes immediately full of all users, who are in address book of the smartphone and also use the app.
Users have the ability to add others to address book, using special nicknames, thus hiding the real phone number. Access to one account can be opened with different devices. Of course, it is easily removed without leaving any records or trace.
The user must indicate his phone number for the initial authentication, then he will receive a password. It’s a single-factor process, that should be enough for security. However, Pavel Durov, insisted, that in countries, where the government may read the correspondence, you must enable two-factor authentication.
Features of messenger
Telegram users can send regular text messages, emoticons, voice messages, photos, videos, music, documents, contacts and location.
The maximum file size is 1.5 GB, and there can also be a reconnection. In addition to the regular dialogues, users also have the ability to communicate in groups with a large number of people. In 2016 the maximum number of people in one group is 5,000.
All messages, sent in Telegram, pass through the server program, whereby it is possible to open access from different devices for a single user. However, this affects security. Despite the fact that the encryption keys are stored in different places, and even the developers themselves can’t access them, there is a possibility of hacking.
That’s the main reason, why there are secret chats in Telegram. The essence of their work is that the messages are sent directly from device to device, transmitting the encryption keys that can only be unlocked on those two devices. Consequently, even if, theoretically, the messages are intercepted, they are simply impossible to decipher. For obvious reasons, they are only available from the device of the sender, and will not be visible in the same account, but with another smartphone. This is the main feature of the Protocol MTProto. The user may even configure the time for autodeleting of messages from smartphones both of sender and recipient. Additional security is provided due to the fact, that periodically the encryption keys are replaced, and the old ones are just wear out.