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Telegram Reaches 500 Million User Milestone

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Telegram has officially surpassed 500 million users – this comes after more than 25 million people downloaded the platform in the last 72 hours.

“Twenty-five million users have joined Telegram in the last 72 hours. 38% of them are from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America, and 8% from MENA,” says Telegram Founder, Pavel Durov.

The rise in demand is attributed to Facebook’s recent move to update WhatsApp’s terms of service and privacy policy – leaving many WhatsApp users concerned and searching for a more secure messaging platform, like Telegram.

“People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users.”

Here are seven tips to make sure Telegram is as secure as possible:

  1. Pick a username and use it instead of your actual name or associated phone number when chatting with others.
  2. Enable 2FA for your account. If someone tries to take control over your account, hijacking a voice call or a text message with a temporary verification code won’t be enough. The attacker will still have to deal with your password. If it’s strong and unique, the account takeover will become a significant problem. This feature is available in “Settings” – “Privacy and Security” – “Two-step Verification.”
  3. When chatting with others, consider using the “Secret Chats” feature. It means your account and chats will have better encryption, where each message is encrypted with two keys available only for you and your recipient.
  4. Use a VPN connection when chatting or calling others. It is essential to bring an extra layer of security on your side.
  5. Regularly review the “Active Sessions” option available in “Settings” – “Privacy and Security”. It helps to find out if your Telegram account is enabled on any other device besides yours. If you find anything unknown or suspicious, terminate those sessions and change your “Two-step verification” password.
  6. To maximise your privacy integrity, when signing up on Telegram, use a virtual number instead of your real mobile number. Make sure it is not a disposable virtual number; otherwise, someone can still hijack your account. Your virtual number is the one you own and is not connected to your mobile carrier.
  7. Make sure your information is private to the point comfortable to you. There are several settings that you can play up or down in terms of exposure to the world around by accessing “Settings” and then “Privacy and Security”.
Edited by Jenna Delport
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