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My country (Brazil) will start a 48 hour block on WhatsApp tomorrow, with cooperation from data (3G/4G) companies, but not home ISP companies (yet).

My question is:

  • How can I still access and send messages after the block is in effect using 3G/4G, preferably a option that can work either on Android and iPhone, without requiring root ( I need my friends on WhatsApp too, and I don't know anyone with a Jailbreak or Root, so...)?

It appears that the blocking will be at IP level.

Some news on that (in Portuguese): http://www.tecmundo.com.br/whatsapp/91909-whatsapp-bloqueado-brasil-48h-justica-bloqueia.htm

http://g1.globo.com/tecnologia/noticia/2015/12/operadoras-sao-intimadas-bloquear-whatsapp-no-brasil-por-48-horas.html

(English) http://www.demotix.com/news/9316706/justice-brazil-determines-lock-whatsapp-48-hours#media-9316661

Edit : The block is in effect, most of people are using those free VPN apps but that's not really the optimal solution since you can't really trust them(some may even be malicious)...

Edit2 : The ban has been lifted, however I think that if my country really went to extremes to block WhatsApp they could just block all known VPNs and Tor exits (it's trivial those days to scan the entire IPV4 address range) things wouldn't be so easy like that

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    I'm not sure this is on-topic. You are asking us how to to bypass a government block on a phone without a lot of technical knowledge. – schroeder Dec 17 '15 at 0:46
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    I'm aware of most common methods, but they are not easy and practical in mobile phones. Have you tried to do anything at Tor with 2G or a slow 3G internet ? I'm not even sure that there is any official Tor app for IOS, and you need root for transparently use Tor on Android. VPN could work but I doubt many of my contacts are willing to pay for it. I'm asking for a way that works in mobile OS easy, if possible free too and easy to non-geeks to use. If there's nothing, that's an answer – Freedo Dec 17 '15 at 1:21
  • like schroeder said ... your going to need to gain some technical knowledge ... however if your willing to learn, you basically need a pptp vpn. You can set one up yourself, or rent access to one. But, if you are having issues accessing whatsapp ... then there is a good chance all the people you are trying to contact are not going to be available even if you do get it working. – CaffeineAddiction Mar 7 '17 at 22:32
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Note: See updates about WhatsApp man-in-the-middle exploit, potential WhatsApp backdoor which can allow snooping, and article on how the CIA can bypass WhatsApp message encryption by accessing the phones directly below:

How to block:

Generally, this means your country will either block the website/applications IP address Range which will prevent packets from reaching the website or null route the BGP/AS number (blocking these IP's from being routed).

Getting around a blocked IP restriction:

There are MANY ways to do this but generally this means you will want to use a VPN provider in another country or a tool like Tor if either of those are an option.

https://tor.eff.org/

Note: There are many Tor-based web browsers for various phones. These would be a good solution for access to web pages for your phone but this won't secure connections from your phones other apps.

There are many VPN solutions which will work well on mobile devices. In many cases this may be easier to configure if it's not outlawed.

If neither of those are an option (legally or technically) you may want to check and see if the application or website are accessible via IPv6. If there is an IP restriction it may only be blocked on the IPv4 addresses and not the IPv6 addresses so you may be able to connect directly without using any type of encryption or service which is currently outlawed in your country.

Note: It is very important to understand your local laws when doing any of this and likely worth consulting an attorney to make sure you are not unknowingly breaking any laws in the process.

Update: This post by Bruce Schneier about a man-in-the-middle exploit for WhatsApp is very relevant to your question.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/10/is_whatsapp_hac.html

Update2: This post discussing a potential backdoor discovered in WhatsApp which allows snooping of encrypted messages.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/13/whatsapp-backdoor-allows-snooping-on-encrypted-messages

For additional technical clarity, this post is also useful to read

https://slashcrypto.org/2017/01/13/WhatsApp_backdoor/

Update3: The most recent Wikileaks release of CIA documents shows how the CIA can access the phone to read WhatsApp messages effectively bypassing its encryption. It's likely other governments can do the same thing using the same or similar methods.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/wikileaks-cia-hack-phone-tv-router-vault-7-year-zero-weeping-angel/

  • Thanks so much, it appears will be at IP level, and I'm aware of Tor, but like i said this is a social app used on mobile phones, I'm not even sure if Tor is available on IOS ? The optimal solution is one that can be shared and used easily by non-geek people – Freedo Dec 17 '15 at 0:41
  • I just updated my answer to point out that many VPN solutions will work well on mobile devices and all traffic (apps included) will go through these VPN tunnels exiting wherever they terminate. – Trey Blalock Dec 17 '15 at 1:20
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    Yes and no. Yes for web browser access via a single session but this won't automatically redirect traffic for your phones app's. I also would not recommend using a VPN "App", you want to reconfigure your phones built-in VPN setting without adding new software. These two options are very different. There are Tor-based web browsers for phones. That may be a better solution for you. – Trey Blalock Dec 17 '15 at 1:35
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    @Trey - I am still reading through the Vault7 stuff, but I don't see encryption breaks there. The access is via compromising the phone, not the encryption as far as I can see. – Rory Alsop Mar 8 '17 at 7:48
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    This answer is very, very misleading. First of all, there is no WhatsApp backdoor: whispersystems.org/blog/there-is-no-whatsapp-backdoor That guardian article was thoroughly debunked by multiple cryptologists. Also, the CIA did NOT break WhatsApp, they simply installed malware on a phone that just recorded the input. It's like saying don't use a password manager because you could get keylogged anyways. Please stop spreading misinformation. – Awn Mar 10 '17 at 8:09
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You can use Orbot VPN by Tor and can force all the application's traffic to pass through Orbot

Orbot GUI

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If only the mobile providers are blocking it but you can still access it from your home network, you could set up a VPN server at home and connect to it from your mobile device so all its traffic gets tunneled through your home provider.

IPSec (with IKEv2) is a great and secure protocol for this that's supported by all major mobile OSes (unlike some other solutions like OpenVPN), I personally recommend StrongSwan running on Archlinux for a lightweight VPN gateway. Just make sure to use certificates and not pre-shared keys that are prone to bruteforce attacks.

  • Where do you see the advantages of IPSec over OpenVPN? – SaAtomic Mar 8 '17 at 7:08
  • @SaAtomic built-in support in pretty much every device, from mobile phones to enterirpse-grade Cisco routers. OpenVPN... – André Borie Mar 8 '17 at 8:34
  • I see, but in this very case, where the question was about connecting an Android/iPhone? – SaAtomic Mar 8 '17 at 8:54
  • @SaAtomic my iPhone allows me to set up an IPSec VPN right there from the system settings. OpenVPN? There's no option for that, you have to get a third-party app that may or may not work. – André Borie Mar 8 '17 at 9:07
  • alright, that makes sense. Thanks for the feedback – SaAtomic Mar 8 '17 at 9:27

protected by Community Mar 8 '17 at 7:46

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