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episode 191: Dealing illicit goods on encrypted chat apps. [Research Saturday]


Guest Daniel Kats, Senior Principal Research Engineer at NortonLifeLock, joins Dave to discuss his team's work, "Encrypted Chat Apps Doubling as Illegal Marketplaces." Encrypted chat apps are gaining popularity worldwide due to their central premise of not sending user data to tech giants. Some popular examples include WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal. These apps have also been adopted by businesses to securely communicate directly to their users. Additionally, these apps have been instrumental to subverting authoritarian regimes.

However, NortonLifeLock found that encrypted chat apps are also being used by criminals to sell illegal goods. Because content moderation is, by design, nearly impossible on these apps, they allow for an easy vector for dealers of illicit goods to communicate directly to customers without fear of law enforcement involvement.

The research can be found here:

  • Encrypted Chat Apps Doubling as Illegal Marketplaces


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 2021-07-10  22m