Understand the risk of using free VPN to circumvent WhatsApp blocking

Since the first time that WhatsApp was blocked by the justice system in Brazil, many websites and social networks started to spread “tricks” to make the application work again, circumventing the judicial imposition. The most common is the use of common VPN (Virtual Private Network, virtual private network), which actually diverts the cell phone connection to a server abroad and accesses the service from there, as if the user were in another country where WhatsApp is not blocked.

The problem is that by doing this, you are handing over all your data, including passwords, emails, contacts, photos and messages, to strangers who, in theory, can do whatever they want with that information.

The iPhone Blog takes advantage of this moment when many are excited about what is happening with WhatsApp and better explains how VPN works and the risks it offers.

What is VPN

VPN connections are widely used in the corporate world, to remotely interconnect employees’ computers with those of the company, thus facilitating access to data. If you connect to your company’s private network, you will be protected by all the security offered by it, since the connection only goes through private servers, with the sole purpose of sharing work documents.

But this type of connection can also be used to “trick” systems that require users to be from a certain region to use their services. For example, many people used this ruse to watch films from the Netflix when the service was not yet available in Brazil. The user used a public VPN that made his IP look like he was connecting across the United States, which released the service. This trick is old and widely used on several sites that limit the geographic area.

Dodging WhatsApp

The world today is mobile and many things we do directly on our cell phones. We have almost everything in it, from passwords to work documents or access to websites and social networks. That is why taking care of access to it is an intense debate nowadays, to the point of Apple asking the FBI to defend it.

With the judicial blockade of WhatsApp, all national operators were forced to block the service in Brazil. This means that if you are in the national territory, you will not be able to receive or send messages through the application, which will not be able to connect.

And this is where some suggest using VNP programs: using a connection that passes through a server located in another country where WhatsApp is not blocked, you can receive and send messages as normal.


The problem

The big risk is that the moment you create a VPN connection to the internet from your mobile phone, the entire network starts to pass through a distant server before reaching the destination, and this is not limited to WhatsApp only. And considering that you generally don’t know who is controlling such a distant server, everything can be observed, without you even knowing it.

WhatsApp recently started encrypting your messages, just like iMessage always did, so in theory there would be no problem. However, all the rest of the things you do on the internet are exposed, even the connections that the cell phone makes in the background, without you knowing it. Emails you receive, connection to services and social networks, passwords, whatever you are doing while there is a VPN connection, will be transmitted to an unknown server before reaching the destination. Did you understand the great risk that exists there?

The best VPN apps are paid for: they create an encrypted connection between you and the server, preventing data from being diverted or collected halfway. However, there are many free options on the App Store (and on the internet) that do not take this care, creating a connection without any security. It is important to remember that there is no free lunch: if it’s free, they make money in another way that is not always clear to the user.

So what to do?

But then, how to circumvent the court decision and use WhatsApp safely? Well, if you are not an IT technician or knowledgeable capable of identifying a reliable VPN or not, then it is best not to use insecure and wait the service is back in operation in the country. Since there is no formula to guarantee that “this service is safe, this other is not“It is best not to risk it. Want to give the “Brazilian way”May be worse for the security of your data and your photos, which are at risk of falling into the hands of strangers.

If communication with your contacts is that important, a solution, even if temporary, is to install alternative communication applications. After all, it was not WhatsApp that invented this means of exchanging messages, which has existed for a long time, since the time of ICQ. Telegram is one of the best, although in those times it cannot handle the huge number of registrations at the same time. For those who use Facebook, Messenger is the easiest and most direct option to chat with friends.

Alternatives do exist, you just need to open your mind and be willing to use different apps that can often surprise you positively. Learning new things every day is a healthy and rich way to live. ?

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