Is It Safe to Let Telegram Store Your Real ID on the Cloud?

Many of us use cloud storage to keep copies of our photos or documents. Plus, it is a convenient way to share various files across different devices. Moreover, lots of password managers use cloud services to store users' passwords and other sensitive data. Recently, another application called Telegram also introduced a feature that keeps user's ID card information on the cloud. Naturally, if you do not think it is a good idea to place any private information on such storage, you probably doubt it is safe to store ID card information on it either. However, in reality, the security of your data depends on many factors, such as the cloud provider's reliability. If you have doubts about data safety on cloud storage too, we invite you to read our full blog post. Further, we discuss Telegram's new feature that lets you store ID on cloud, as well as how secure it is, in general, to keep sensitive data using such a service.

What is Telegram?

Telegram is an instant messaging application that allows its users to send messages, make calls, and share pictures, videos, stickers, documents, and various other files. Just like WhatsApp or other popular messengers it lets you communicate using your mobile data or available Wi-Fi connections. The service is cloud-based, which means users can connect to their account and access their messages with different devices. It works on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows NT, macOS, and Linux systems. The application gained popularity because of its ability to ensure private and safe messaging. As you see, all messages are heavily encrypted and can be set to self-destruct after some time if the sender adds a timer on the message. Not to mention, the program is free to use, and its users do not have to stare at annoying advertisements in exchange for the free service.

What is the new Telegram's feature?

The new application's feature is called Telegram Passport. As the title suggests, it was designed to store ID documents. What encouraged the company to come up with such a tool was complaints from the application's crypto community. Apparently, most ICO's (Initial Coin Offering) and cryptocurrency exchange services use Know-Your-Customer policies (KYC) that require uploading documents for verification, and many users find it too time-consuming to upload same ID documents again and again for each service. Therefore, Telegram made it possible to store ID on cloud, so users could provide their identification document details faster.

According to the Telegram team's announcement, the information is safely stored in the application's cloud storage using End-to-End encryption. In other words, the ID card details are encrypted with a password picked by the user himself, and not even the company has access to the information stored in Telegram Passport. What's more, when providing ID details, they go to the recipient directly, and in the future, the company thinks the user will not need to share any data at all. To be more accurate, the developers plan adding a third-party verification feature for Telegram Passport. They believe the fact that the verification provider approved the account would be enough to assume the person is real. Despite this, the new feature's introduction did not convince everyone as some users doubt whether the mentioned security measures will be enabled automatically.

Is it safe to store ID on cloud?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, whether your data will be safe or not if you store it on cloud depends on many factors. Usually, cloud storage services use complex encryption algorithms that hide stored information from whoever could be trying to access it. The only way to view encrypted files is to decrypt them which requires a unique decryption key. If hackers cannot obtain it, the ciphered data should be safe as while it is possible to crack it, doing so requires lots of time and resources. Therefore, if you are going to store ID card details or other sensitive data, you should learn whether such information would be encrypted and what additional safety measures there are before picking your cloud storage provider.

Another thing you should do is research your favorite cloud storage providers to determine which one of them is the most reliable. Naturally, recent data breaches or other scandals should signal the product might be unable to ensure data security. Truth to be told, Telegram itself has experienced data breaches in the past as the application accidentally leaked user data during voice calls. A lot also depends on whether you use a strong password. If it can be guessed by knowing a couple of facts about you, the passcode is weak, and it might be unable to protect your cloud storage. In other words, when you pick a password, you should try to make it as unique as possible. Password length also matters because the longer it is, the more time cybercriminals need to crack it.

Nonetheless, there is no need to worry if you cannot come up with a secure passcode yourself as there are tools that can help you. For instance, Cyclonis password manager is free to use, and it offers an integrated Password Generator designed to create unique passcodes of selected length (up to 32 characters) and characters. In fact, the application can store ID card information, driver's license number, and other sensitive data you may want to keep too. The difference is that with Cyclonis you can choose whether the information is stored in an encrypted vault on your preferred cloud storage or your computer. Besides, keep in mind that an application dedicated to keeping sensitive data secure is safer than using tools that have many different functions. Cyclonis can store your ID card number in the most secure way.

In conclusion, none of us want to choose between keeping our data safe and saving time by storing it where we could access it faster. What we believe is you can have both if you use reliable services and employ the tips mentioned earlier in the article.

November 7, 2018

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