The Russian messenger Telegram offers users a premium subscription worth UAH 144.99 for free – but there is a nuance. To do this, you need to sign up for the new Peer-to-Peer Login (P2PL) app, which is currently only available on Android and in certain (undefined) locations, and allow your number to be used to send up to 150 one-time passwords (OTPs) to others when they try to log in. In the month when a sufficient number of SMS from OTP is sent from the provided number, the user will receive premium access for free (if you can consider free access when your phone number is seen by anyone).

Cybersecurity experts are shocked by such a proposal, and warn that this attraction of unprecedented bounty suspiciously resembles free cheese in a mousetrap. The main problem is that the recipient of the one-time password sees the sender’s phone number, and can send a message in response (or just like that) to all the numbers from which he receives an OTP – although this is officially prohibited, Telegram will not be able to control this. Therefore, he relieves himself of all responsibility in advance.

Telegram is not responsible for any inconvenience, harassment, or harm caused by unwanted, unauthorized, or illegal actions committed by users who have become aware of your phone number through P2PL.

Russian platform Claimsthat Telegram’s P2PL program is designed to make receiving passcodes via SMS more reliable in certain regions, but experts say that this is more like an attempt to avoid paying for sending SMS with passcodes (a similar trick was pulled by Elon Musk when he made two-factor authentication available only to users of paid Twitter Blue accounts). And they unanimously advise not to agree to this obviously risky experiment, which contradicts the principles of confidentiality declared by Telegram.

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