Telegram’s People Nearby feature can be exploited to know the exact location of users. For those unaware, People Nearby in Telegram lets users send messages to other Telegram users nearby. Profile of those who enable Make Myself Visible will be displayed to others around them. Also Read - WhatsApp vs Signal vs Telegram: The best messaging app for you?
People Nearby in Telegram also shows how far a person. According to Ahmed’s Notes blog post, an adversary can spoof their location for three points and use them to draw three triangulation circles to know the exact location of users. However, a simple fix to this problem is to keep the Make Myself Visible option switched off. Also Read - Signal down due to huge user influx; company working on a fix
Telegram’s People Nearby was added in June 2019 and was updated to version 2.0 in February last year. People Nearby option can be found in Contacts. The feature allows users to message someone near them, even if they navigate away from the page or close the app. Also Read - WhatsApp's popularity falls as rival app Telegram adds 2.5 cr new users in a few days
WhatsApp rival telegram is touted as among the most encrypted apps for messaging. While it began as a niche application focused on secret messaging in 2013, Telegram now has close to 500 million active users worldwide.
Ahmed claimed in his post that he contacted Telegram about the issue to which the company replied in a mail saying, “Users in the People Nearby section intentionally share their location, and this feature is disabled by default. It’s expected that determining the exact location is possible under certain conditions.”
Telegram recently announced that it is looking for ways to make money by introducing new features this year that will be paid for by Premium users, though all features that are currently free will stay free. In addition, all parts of the platform devoted to messaging will also remain ad-free. The move comes as the messaging app is on track to reach billions of users globally.
Telegram also offers end-to-end encrypted video calling for Android and iOS apps, though group calling is not supported as of now. Video calls can be placed from a contact’s profile page. Users can also scroll through chats and multi-task while on a call, thanks to picture-in-picture mode.