Encrypted will be calculated by metadata
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB monitor communication in Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp
Russia is rapidly catching up with Iran and China in the methods of spying on its citizens. The police and the FSB were able to track the correspondence of Russians in encrypted messengers Telegram, Signal and WhatsApp, writes The New York Times (NYT)having studied the documents of Russian technology suppliers for the security forces.
Intelligence services cannot read messages sent by users, but they can find out who corresponded with whom, where and when they corresponded or called up in instant messengers.
Technological companies, such as Citadel, formerly owned by oligarch Alisher Usmanov, provide tools to intelligence agencies. The companies MFI Soft, VAS Experts and Proteus, which are part of its group, used to create tools for wiretapping telephone conversations, and are now developing more modern methods of surveillance for the Russian special services.
For example, MFI Soft created the NetBeholder program, which can track the directions of encrypted messenger traffic. With the help of the program, the security forces will be able to find out who communicates with whom, when and where, and also find out if the file is attached to the message. In addition, you can use NetBeholder to understand if a user is using more than one phone, and to map the contacts of these phones with other people’s devices.
Representatives of Telegram, Signal and WhatsApp admitted that messengers are not able to protect users from such surveillance. A Telegram representative said that nothing can be done to hide the traffic. Users can only make it harder to identify and track it with built-in features. WhatsApp said that surveillance tools are “a serious threat to the privacy of people around the world.”
Signal Foundation President Meredith Whittaker told the NYT that their messaging app was not designed to hide the fact that you are using Signal from “the ISP.” She suggested that users use a feature that sends traffic through another server to hide its source and destination.
EADaily, 07/03/2023, “FSB has learned to track correspondence in Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp – The New York Times”: The program also allows you to determine the region of Russia from which the user comes from, or the country from which the foreigner came. […] Some of the surveillance tools described have already begun to spread beyond Russia. Manufacturers aim to sell their products in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as in Africa, the Middle East and South America. In January, Citizen Lab reported that Russian developments are already being used in Iran and in the new territories of Russia that previously belonged to Ukraine.
The NYT recalls that in February the United States imposed sanctions against a number of companies and Russians involved in the development of software for SORM – a system of technical means for providing the functions of operational-search activities. According to the US authorities, SORM is used to “suppress dissent”, and the Citadel company occupies 60-80% of the SORM market. — Inset K.ru
In February, Wired published an investigation into Telegram vulnerabilities. As the journalists found out, using the messenger API, the security forces will be able to obtain information about the content and metadata from any public group chat or channel, as well as records of when users were last online. In addition, knowing a person’s phone number, the special services can receive all the messages that he sent to any open public.
“With willpower, decent servers, and enough API keys, you can archive almost the entire Telegram,” each of the texts, audio files, and images posted on the platform publicly, Jordan Wildon, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), told Wired.