How Cyber Criminals Are Abusing Telegram And Discord Apps For Illegal Activities

After the authorities' crackdown on the dark web, criminals started their activities on encrypted apps, Telegram, and Discord. According to an investigation by international broadcasting radio, pictures of child abuse and stolen financial data is shared via these apps.

Users of these apps are able to search and then join groups involved in promoting illegal activities, like selling drugs, stolen credit card numbers etc. many of the popular messaging apps are encrypted, so the information shared in these groups allow the members to stay protected from law enforcement agencies.

Point of serious concern is that many Telegram and Discord groups are being used by pedophiles to share images of sexual exploitation of minors. Many YouTube video comments are found to have links to these illegal groups that people can easily join.

Dr. Victoria Baines, ex Europol officer and adviser of UK’s serious and Organized Crime Agency, said that when someone searches for child abuse material, he uses Google. Often Google has put restrictions on these links. So they look for ways to access such material in closed spaces.

Discord has a number of groups which appears to be suitable for teenagers, but pedophiles are using this to get explicit images of children by manipulating them. One of the groups, which is no longer active, had a rate list of child abuse images along with an email to contact on.
Also Read: Facebook's Messaging Platform WhatsApp is Being Used to Spread Child Pornography
In its defense, Discord said that a very small number of people are exploiting their apps but they have a dedicated team which keeps the check and balance. The team is improving the policies and reducing the exploitation percentage even more. Their Trust and Safety policy is designed to ensure the safety of users, which let users avoid unknown or unwanted number to contact you.

Discord made clear that though they are working to control the illegal usage of their app, whereas, on an individual level, people should chat or accept invitations only from the people they already know. Also, on a large level, stole credit card numbers are also sell using these platforms.

Encrypted Apps (including Telegram And Discord) Used To Exchange Child Abuse Images
Photo: Dado Ruvic / Reuters

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