iMessage Ranked ‘Moderately Safe’ by Islamic State, Telegram Preferred

Reuters and the Wall Street Journal report that mobile messaging service Telegram has emerged as an important promotional and recruitment platform for the Islamic State. The news comes hot on the heels of the Paris bloodshed, which left 129 people dead.

Actually, the Islamic State seems to be among the most technologically sophisticated extremist groups. The Wall Street Journal has knowledge of an eight-minute video that discusses the surveillance capabilities of hostile governments and how phones can be tracked.

In January, a follower known online as al-Khabir al-Taqni, who identifies himself as a “technical expert,” provided would-be fighters with a list of what he determined were the safest encrypted communications systems available.

“Through this, we can break one of the strongest weapons of the Crusader governments in spying on and tracking the mujahedeen and targeting them with aircraft,” the author said, referring to the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

Islamic State has put together a list of 33 messaging applications that rate as unsafe, moderately safe, safe, and safest. The list was extracted and verified by the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors and tracks radical groups online.


As you can see from the above image, Telegram is at the top of the list of apps with “safe” ratings, followed by Wickr, Threema, and Surespot. iMessage, despite its end-to-end encryption (Apple’s claim) found its place only in the middle of the “moderately safe” apps. Interestingly, we find Facebook Messenger closing the same list.

Telegram has captured the attention of authorities, as apparently the Islamic State has made Telegram its media mouthpiece in the face of increasingly aggressive efforts to block the group from Twitter and other mainstream social-media platforms, says Reuters.

Since its launch in 2013, Telegram has grown its user base to 60 million, equal to the total number of customers of all the other highly encrypted services available.

The fact that terrorists are allegedly using encrypted apps such as Telegram to communicate with one another is going to open a new debate about security versus privacy, suggests Mike Morell, the former deputy director of the CIA.

Telegram quickly responded to the allegations and launched its own investigation into the matter. Today, VentureBeat spotted the following public message:

“We were disturbed to learn that Telegram’s public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda,” Telegram wrote today in a publicly visible post in the Telegram app. “We are carefully reviewing all reports sent to us at and are taking appropriate action to block such channels. As a result, this week alone we blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages.”

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  • bionicmonk

    Telegram is a great chat app.

  • runner

    Don’t be fooled. This is an attempt to justify giving the government a back door or restrict companies from using encryption. Don’t fall for a lazy argument to take away your rights.

  • Mac

    Seriously and honestly, nobody is interested in your cats pictures and porn history in safari. This is a new age and technology is being actively used in recruiting and organizing terror attacks and many other crimes, governments didn’t fake attacks to gain access to your pictures, they are actually trying to keep you safe, and if less privacy is the price we pay then so be it!!

  • runner

    Wow, just wow!
    You may be willing to sacrifice your own civil liberties for a false sense of security, but most will NOT.
    (At least publicly) Apple, Dropbox and numerous other technology companies have condemned efforts by US lawmakers to create backdoors as they so clearly violate the 4th amendment of the US constitution.
    Up here in Canada, we have section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    ‘New age’ does not equal losing rights. Sorry.

  • Mac

    when a judge or a government entity deems appropriate that police inspect your own home looking for evidence that might help solve a crime, can you refuse?
    Why would my online account be any different?
    If there are solid reasons to believe that someone is planning a crime and it was done online why can’t law enforcement have access to that?

  • Mr Dog

    The difference here is, if there is a backdoor for the law that also means there is a backdoor for everyone else.

    Digital devices aren’t as simple as you house. Someone can be inside your device for days and there is a possibility you will never notice.

    Would you be ok with the government having a key to your house and coming in whenever they feel necessary? or cameras that monitor you 24/7 in the name of maintaining law?

    Now if an officer comes up to me and ask if he can see my phone, I will gladly give it to him.

  • Mac

    That is my point, IF there is a reasonable suspicion and a proper warrant is issued, no problem.
    It will save lives!

  • Mr Dog

    But that is already in place. If they have reasonable doubt and warrant, they can just take your phone from you and look at it.

    The problem is, they are trying to get the information from companies without you every knowing.

    But if the companies are able to freely look at your data, what is stopping one rogue employee from taking all your personal data and releasing it to the world or stealing your ID etc.

  • Mac

    Ah! Ok. I missed that part.. I stand corrected then

  • Mr Dog


    But i guess the only caveat is, they need your fingerprint/code as it’s hard to bypass security on iPhones