Whatsapp Was Temporarily Banned in Brazil

One day after a court order in Sao Paulo banned the popular social messaging app for the entire nation of Brazil, WhatsApp is back in action across the country. In a decision that is likely bringing relief to the 93 million strong user base of WhatsApp in Brazil, Judge Xavier do Souza ruled that it was “not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company”.

In a nation where phone bills and contracts are often prohibitively expensive, many Brazilians make use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family, both locally and abroad. It came as a shock then, when as of midnight on Thursday, local time, a 48-hour ban came into effect on the service across the country’s network providers. The ban came courtesy of a judge in Sao Paulo, who, as a result of WhatsApp’s refusal to hand over data pertaining to a gang member on trial over criminal actions, opted to issue a nation-wide ban on the service for 48 hours as a sanction.

This did not go down well with the online community, both in and outside of Brazil, with many taking to social media to show their outrage at the court’s actions. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement decrying the blocking of the service and pointing people towards Facebook’s own messaging service.

Tonight, a Brazilian judge blocked WhatsApp for more than 100 million people who rely on it in her country.

We are working hard to get this block reversed. Until then, Facebook Messenger is still active and you can use it to communicate instead.

This is a sad day for Brazil. Until today, Brazil has been an ally in creating an open internet. Brazilians have always been among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.

I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.

We hope the Brazilian courts quickly reverse course. If you’re Brazilian, please make your voice heard and help your government reflect the will of its people.

-Mark Zuckerberg

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s rival services, most notably Telegram were enjoying a large influx of users courtesy of the ban. Telegram alone reportedly gained as many as 1.5 million users from the blocking of its rival, causing their registration servers to choke under the sudden load.

While the ban was eventually overturned by another judge, it is worrying that a country that is commonly seen as an ally of net neutrality has the ability to ban a service nationwide on the ruling of a single judge, with no known consultation. Hopefully, both the country of Brazil and the rest of the world will take note that attempting to ban their citizens from such services unreasonably will not go down without a fight.

Earn $300,000 for Cracking Telegram Messenger

Think you got skills? Think you can break an encryption? Then you can earn a nice little $300.000 bonus to sweeten your next couple years of expenses. The messenger service Telegram prides themselves on high security and end-to-end encryption and they are now offering prize money for cracking their encryption.

Earlier this year we had a contest to decipher intercepted Telegram messages, that did not produce a winner. Today we announce a new contest with an easier task and a larger prize — $300,000 for cracking Telegram’s encryption, and this time contestants can not only monitor traffic, but also act as the Telegram server and use active attacks, which vastly increases their capabilities.

You’ll have to assume the role of a malicious entity in full control of both the communication lines and Telegram servers. Your goal is to extract a hidden email address in a Secret Chat between the two users Nick and Paul. You control the entire process, from chat creation to the sending of each individual message and can perform various active attacks, including MITM, KPA, CPA, replay attacks, etc.

To prove that you indeed cracked the service’s encryption, you’ll have to provide the entire text of the message that contains the secret email address as well as session logs and detailed explanation of the attack. And don’t forget to add your bank details so you can get that $300,000 bounty.

The competition ends February 4, 2015 where the keys for encryption will be released to prove that the competition was fair. Happy cracking everyone. If you’re not up for the challenge, you might want to check out Telegram Messenger App anyway as it offers great instant messenger features for free and without advertising across all platforms, including browsers.

Thanks to Telegram for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Telegram