KPN Security warns against shocking and traumatic content on Telegram

Chat service is an ‘accessible alternative to the dark web’

Since the outbreak of the corona crisis, Telegram has been increasingly misused as a platform for criminal activities with a range of sexual content. With the click of a button there is access to very shocking and traumatic footage, which is easily downloaded onto a device and can lead to criminal consequences. As a result, the popular chat service threatens to become an accessible alternative to the dark web. That is the conclusion of KPN Security following an in-depth investigation. KPN Security has shared the conclusions of the research with Telegram and responsible authorities at home and abroad.

Over a 90-day period, KPN Security looked at 106 channels offering a disturbing amount of publicly accessible illegal content and activities. Content that was previously only available through the dark web was found in easily accessible groups. In addition, KPN Security also noted the rise of a new form of sextortion: dating sextortion. In this form of extortion, criminals make dates for sex with their victims, who are then filmed without their knowledge. The photos and video clips are subsequently shared on Telegram.

According to KPN Security, one of the causes of the strong growth of such activities on Telegram is its accessible character. In addition to having one-on-one conversations, users can easily organize themselves into groups and share content there. Many of these groups have no access control. What’s more, Telegram users can easily hide their identity. Simply downloading the app and entering a telephone number is enough to set up an account, making it difficult to trace cyber criminals.

Criminal offense
In addition to concern about the app’s accessible nature, which makes it easy for cyber criminals to use the chat service, KPN Security also wants to warn against users’ prying eyes. Being exposed to the easily accessible sexual content can not only cause trauma, but it is also punishable. Telegram automatically downloads any group content onto a user’s device. As a result, the user has punishable content on their device, which can have consequences such as fines and imprisonment.

Action required
According to KPN Security, action is urgently required and it has handed over the research results to the responsible authorities at home and abroad. It also advises victims to always report any incidents. This is a serious criminal offense and the more information the police have, the more effectively they can conduct their investigations. Every report contains potentially crucial information that can ultimately lead them to the perpetrators.

About KPN Security
KPN Security has played a crucial role in securing the critical infrastructure of Dutch organizations for decades. Every day, we help more than 1200 customers who rely on our knowledge and expertise, and on the most comprehensive security portfolio available on the market. We not only offer solid, turnkey security solutions for identity and privacy, but we also have a complete service package for managed security.

With over 400 security professionals, we are the largest Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) in the Netherlands and market leader in the Dutch IT security market. This also includes a state-of-the-art Security Operations Center. From our SOC, our security specialists protect and monitor the ICT infrastructure of KPN Security and its business customers. So that they can harness the opportunities of the digital world with confidence.

KPN Security uses ethical hackers, who are authorized to investigate security systems and networks in order to detect security leaks in systems and networks. These security vulnerabilities are reported to companies and the agencies that they work with.