60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl interviews the head of Europol, Rob Wainwright, who says ISIS favors a texting app called Telegram that uses encryption which is “a new kind of challenge” in police investigations. The Telegram app is free, fast and heavily encrypted — and messages can self-destruct. Since it’s cloud-based, Telegram “lets you access your messages from multiple devices” and there are “no limits on the size of your media and chats.” Telegram also has a “secret chats” feature that stymies law enforcement: “Secret chats use end-to-end encryption. This means that all data is encrypted with a key that only you and the recipient know. There is no way for us or anybody else without direct access to your device to learn what content is being sent in those messages. We do not store your secret chats on our servers. We also do not keep any logs for messages in secret chats.”
The founders of Telegram are the Russian-born brothers, Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who in 2003 created the social networking site VK – Russia’s version of Facebook. VK is the second most popular website in Russia and Ukraine, and has made the Durovs very rich. Telegram, though founded by the Russian brothers, is headquartered in Berlin. Telegram makes a point of saying that while many of its developers are also Russian, “Telegram is not connected to Russia – legally or physically.” 60 Minutes airs Sunday at 7:30pm on CBS. Note: Russian search engine Yandex is the most popular site in Russia and Ukraine.