Telegram has exploded in popularity in recent years. With over 500 million active users, it’s become one of the world’s most used messaging apps.
But with great popularity comes heightened risk. Telegram accounts are prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals looking to steal data or spread malware.
In 2021, over 100,000 Iranian Telegram users were compromised in a massive hacking attack. And malicious actors are constantly evolving new tactics to break into accounts.
As a Telegram user, it’s incredibly important you know how to check if your account has been hacked. Spotting unauthorized access early allows you to take swift action to secure your account before further damage occurs.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about detecting, troubleshooting and preventing Telegram hacks.
How Can You Tell if Your Telegram Account Has Been Hacked?
Here are the most common signs your Telegram may have been compromised:
- Strange or inappropriate messages are being sent from your account to your contacts. These are messages you did not write or authorize.
- Your contacts receive Telegram messages that appear to come from you, but that you never actually sent.
- Your Telegram profile information, privacy settings, linked phone number or other account details have been changed without your knowledge.
- You are suddenly logged out of your Telegram account and unable to log back in.
- Your account shows an increased number of sign in attempts from devices you don’t own or recognize.
- You receive Telegram notifications informing you of account changes or actions that you did not authorize.
- New devices show up as logged into your Telegram that you don’t remember associating with your account.
Any of these should raise red flags that an unauthorized third party has gained access to your account.
But how can a hacker actually break into your Telegram in the first place? There are a few common vectors:
- Weak or stolen Telegram password: If your password is too simple, reused elsewhere, or has been phished by a hacker, they can easily log into your account.
- Outdated Telegram app: Older versions of the Telegram app may have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to bypass login protections.
- Infected device: Malware on your smartphone could capture Telegram login credentials entered on that device.
- SIM swap scam: Hackers socially engineer your cell provider to port your phone number to a new SIM card, receiving Telegram verification texts.
Now let’s go over the steps to start investigating a potential hack…
Checking Your Telegram Account’s Login Activity
The best way to detect unauthorized access of your Telegram account is by carefully reviewing your recent login activity.
Here’s how to find it:
- Open the Telegram app and tap Settings.
- Go to Privacy and Security > Sessions
- Here you will see a list of all recent sessions along with dates, times, locations, devices, and IP addresses.
Carefully examine this list of login sessions:
- Are there logins from devices you don’t own? Look for unknown device names and types.
- Do you see logins from unfamiliar locations? Watch for suspicious geographical origins.
- Are there login times/dates when you know you did not access Telegram? Activity when you were asleep or busy indicates unauthorized access.
- Make note of any unknown IP addresses. You can look these up to identify the internet service provider or region.
Any Telegram sessions you don’t remember or recognize could mean your account has been compromised.
Take Action Immediately If You Detect Suspicious Sessions
If you find clear evidence of an unauthorized user accessing your Telegram account in your login activity, take action right away:
- Log out of all active Telegram sessions to revoke access.
- Change your Telegram password to something completely new that only you know.
- Enable two-factor authentication for increased account security (more details below).
- Run antivirus scans to check your devices for malware or spyware.
- Contact Telegram support if you need help securing your account.
Swiftly taking steps to lock down your account can stop a Telegram hacker before they’re able to do further damage.
Turn On Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Enabling Telegram’s two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring two forms of identity verification when logging in.
With 2FA enabled, signing into Telegram will require:
- Your account password
- An additional one-time passcode (sent via text message or generated by an authenticator app)
Activating this extra verification step makes it much harder for a hacker to access your account, even if they manage to obtain your Telegram password.
Here’s how to switch on two-factor authentication:
- Open Telegram Settings
- Go to Privacy and Security
- Tap Two-Step Verification
- Choose if you want to receive authentication codes via text message or an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete setup.
Be sure to save your 2FA recovery code in a safe place. This 24 character code can help you regain access if you ever lose your 2FA device.
With both your password AND an additional time-sensitive login code needed, two-factor authentication makes hacking your Telegram account orders of magnitude more difficult.
Change Your Telegram Passcode
Your Telegram passcode (similar to a password) is the first line of defense protecting your account.
A weak, reused or compromised passcode can allow hackers easy access into your Telegram.
Here are smart tips for keeping your passcode secure:
- Don’t use personal info – Avoid basing it on your name, birthday, address or other identifiable details.
- Avoid common words – Don’t use dictionary words or common phrases.
- Use a mix of character types – Combine uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols for greater complexity.
- Make it long – Use a minimum of 8 characters, but longer is stronger.
- No repeats – Don’t repeat the same character multiple times.
- Unique per account – Don’t reuse the same passcode across multiple accounts or sites.
You should also update your Telegram passcode regularly, or immediately if you suspect it has been compromised.
Here’s how to change your passcode from the Telegram app:
- Go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Passcode
- Enter your current passcode
- Tap Change Passcode
- Enter your new passcode and confirm
Creating a truly strong and unique passcode makes it far more difficult for a hacker to access your account.
Beware of Telegram Authentication Scams
Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to try and steal Telegram accounts. One tactic to watch out for is authentication scams.
This is where you receive an SMS with a Telegram login verification code…but you didn’t try to log in.
The hackers have attempted to log into your account using your phone number. Telegram then sends you the authentication code which the hackers are prompting you for.
If you give them this code, they can sign into your account!
Never provide an authentication code unless you personally initiated the Telegram login. These scams rely on panicking users into handing over their login verification code.
Beware of Telegram Spying Apps
In addition to outright hacking, some malicious actors attempt to secretly access Telegram accounts through spying apps.
These shady programs claim to let someone read the Telegram messages and view chat history of another person. They are marketed to monitor kids or spy on romantic partners.
Some popular examples include:
However, these apps are unethical and most likely scams. Their claims of breaking into Telegram accounts are dubious.
Firstly, Telegram encrypts all chats end-to-end by default. So third parties cannot read messages.
Secondly, the apps probably just rely on phishing victims into surrendering login details, not actual hacking. This gives a false impression of covert monitoring powers.
Avoid installing any app that claims it lets you secretly access or spy on someone’s Telegram account and chats. This violates privacy and you could fall prey to fraud.
The only proper way to view someone’s Telegram messages is if they intentionally give you their login credentials and 2FA codes. Spying apps should be avoided.
Run Antivirus Scans on Your Devices
Hackers can install malware or spyware on your smartphones, laptops and computers to steal account credentials and data.
Periodically running antivirus scans helps detect these infections so you can remove them before your accounts are compromised.
- For Windows, use built-in Microsoft Defender or download Malwarebytes.
- Mac users can utilize the native XProtect antivirus or install third-party software like Avira.
- On Android, apps like Avast Mobile Security and Lookout can scan for mobile malware.
- iPhones feature robust security protections but you can also try virus scanners like Norton Mobile Security.
Make sure all your devices are clean of infections before logging into Telegram.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Logging In
Public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, hotels, airports and other locations are often not secure. There is a risk of hackers intercepting your login details when using these networks.
Only access Telegram on your personal trusted networks at home or work. Avoid logging in when on public Wi-Fi to keep your account safe.
Use a Telegram Account Without Tying Your Phone Number
By default, signing up for Telegram requires confirming your account with a phone number for identity verification.
The downside is that if hackers compromise your phone number via SIM swap scam, they could gain access to your Telegram account.
You can create a Telegram account without any phone number attached. Just download Telegram Desktop and sign up with an email address instead of a phone number.
This eliminates the SIM swap risk vector and adds a layer of anonymity. The tradeoff is losing access to some Telegram features that require a phone number for confirmation.
Key Takeaways on Securing Your Telegram Account
Here are the core recommendations to protect your Telegram from unauthorized access:
- Frequently check Telegram login activity for any unrecognized sessions.
- Enable two-factor authentication and use a strong, unique passcode.
- Run antivirus scans to remove any potential infections on your devices.
- Avoid logging into Telegram on public Wi-Fi networks.
- Consider using Telegram Desktop without tying your account to a phone number.
- Update to the latest Telegram app version to patch any security flaws.
- Be cautious of suspicious authentication code requests.
- Contact Telegram support if you suspect your account has been hacked.
Staying vigilant in watching for signs of breach and proactively safeguarding your account is key for keeping Telegram secure against increasingly sophisticated hackers.
Telegram Account Hacked? Here’s What to Do
If you confirm your Telegram account has been compromised, take these immediate steps:
- Log out of all active sessions – This revokes the hacker’s access by kicking them out of your account.
- Change your password – Update your passcode to something completely new that only you know.
- Enable 2FA – Add an extra verification layer with two-factor authentication.
- Run antivirus scans – Check all your devices for potential malware or spyware infections allowing hackers in.
- Contact Telegram support – Telegram’s team can help secure your account and investigate the breach.
Taking swift action limits the damage from a hacked Telegram account and prevents further misuse. Make sure to update any other accounts that used the same password for added safety.
Going forward, be extra vigilant about Telegram security by regularly checking your login activity and enabling enhanced authentication options. Learning from a breach helps strengthen your defenses against future hacking attacks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hacked Telegram Accounts
Here are answers to some common questions around detecting and dealing with compromised Telegram accounts:
How can I tell if someone else is logged into my Telegram account?
Go to Privacy & Security > Sessions in Telegram’s settings. Look for login sessions from unknown devices, locations or IPs that indicate unauthorized access.
What should I do if my phone was stolen and has Telegram installed?
Immediately log out of all sessions via Telegram Web to revoke access. Change your passcode, enable 2FA and contact support if you need account help.
Is it possible to hack Telegram without access to my phone?
Yes, hackers can intercept your SMS verification code or use social engineering tricks to hijack your SIM card and number. Use 2FA apps instead of SMS codes when possible.
Can someone read my Telegram messages if they hack my account?
Depending on your privacy settings, hackers may be able to view and download your Telegram chat history after breaking into your account.
How do I delete a hacked Telegram account and start fresh?
You can delete your compromised Telegram account via Settings > Privacy and Security > Delete Account. Then create a new account and properly secure it.
Does enabling 2FA completely prevent Telegram from being hacked?
Two-factor authentication adds an important extra security layer that makes hacking much harder. But no single measure completely guarantees Telegram account safety.
What should I do if I think my phone has a keylogger or other malware?
Factory reset your device to wipe all data and remove any infections. Avoid logging into Telegram from the infected device and change your passcode from a clean computer.
Can I see the IP address of someone who logged into my Telegram?
Yes, you can view the IP address next to each login session under Privacy & Security > Sessions. Look up any unfamiliar IPs to identify the geographical location.
If my email associated with Telegram gets hacked, will my Telegram account also be at risk?
If you used your email to sign up for Telegram, a hacker with access to it could potentially initiate an account recovery and security reset. Use a fresh email.
Hackers are endlessly inventing new techniques to compromise Telegram accounts and identities. Staying vigilant is key.
Know the signs of unauthorized access like unrecognized login sessions. Take preventative measures like two-factor authentication and anti-malware scans.
If your Telegram does get hacked, take swift action to lock it down again. With proper security habits, you can use Telegram while keeping your account and data safe.