WhatsApp is Immune to Internet Blockage, Censorship with Proxy Support

Last week, WhatsApp launched a proxy service to avoid internet shutdowns or service bans of the main Meta Platforms messaging app. The company is rolling out proxy support globally for all of its ~2.4 billion users.

In a blog post, WhatsApp said the new proxy support aims to help “people who continue to be unable to connect with loved ones due to internet shutdowns.”

“Our wish for 2023 is that this internet shutdown never happens,” the company added, referring to Iran’s September 2022 internet shutdown due to civil protests over the death of Mahsa Ami.

According to #KeepItOn, there is a coalition of over 244 civil society organizations 935 internet outages in 74 countries between 2016 and 2021. Almost 60% (557) were founded between 2019 and 2021.

In 2022, 23 countries partially or completely shut down the Internet 114 times. to learnAffecting 710 million users and with an economic cost of $23.79 billion.

In general, shutdowns of the Internet, whether due to political, social or economic unrest or national security, are indiscriminate in terms of users and can have far-reaching effects, experts say.

However, as highlighted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), closures can be provided for specific platforms. report. “Detachment methods have evolved from blanket interventions to more targeted approaches following the increased penetration of communication platforms and the emergence of new tools,” the UNHCR report said.

“The most common interventions after a complete outage of broadband and mobile connections are the blocking of mobile services, the targeted disruption of 22 specific services, and regulation. The increasing affordability of surveillance technologies that enable the covert blocking of certain platforms is also likely to lead to more targeted disruptions.”

Of the 557 shutdowns that occurred in the three years from 2019 to 2021, WhatsApp was affected by ~10% (55). However, the scale of messaging service operations (almost 2.4 billion users and over two billion active users), even a small breach can affect millions of users.

See more: WhatsApp Leak: 360M Phone Numbers Freely Available on Dark Web

According to Top10VPN, WhatsApp was the most blocked platform in 2019, receiving 7,044 hours of internet censorship by the government. However, despite its wide reach, the app does not appear in the list of top 10 most blocked platforms in 2022, possibly because WhatsApp is outranked by algorithm-based social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitterand so on.

Meta, which recently settled the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal for $725 million and was also fined separately 413 million dollars for data processing practices, he added, using a proxy will have no impact on user privacy and end-to-end encryption will continue to work as intended. “Proxy connection maintains the high level of privacy and security provided by WhatsApp,” WhatsApp said.

“Your private messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption – ensuring they stay between you and the person you’re communicating with and not visible to anyone, not proxy servers, WhatsApp or Meta.” However, using a third-party proxy will share the user’s IP address with the proxy provider.

Volunteers and organizations can Create proxy servers on WhatsApp Using a server with a domain name (or subdomain) that points to ports 80, 443, or 5222 and the server’s IP address.

To use a proxy on WhatsApp on Android, make sure the app is updated to the latest version, and when you’re on the ‘Chats’ tab, tap the three vertical ellipses in the top-right corner. Go to Settings > Storage & Data > Proxy > Use Proxy > Set Proxy (enter the proxy address here) > Save. After successfully connecting to the proxy, the app will show a green tick mark.

To connect to WhatsApp proxy on iPhone, go to Settings > Storage & Data > Proxy > Use Proxy > Save. Users should ensure that they are using a proxy address from a trusted source.

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