Could the Zimbabwean government really have shut down WhatsApp?

Could the Zimbabwean government really have shut down WhatsApp and how precisely would it do so?

Computer security researcher Azhar Desai says it has been done before.

“It’s definitely possible and it certainly has been done before. In Egypt right now on certain mobile network operators, you can’t use WhatsApp calls.”

Desai says one approach to blocking a single app is for a user’s network operator to block access to specific servers an app relies on, he says this would however require the cooperation of the major telecommunication companies.

Earlier this week Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator threatened to disconnect mobile subscribers who are spreading information via WhatsApp about the protests that have rocked the country.

On Wednesday WhatsApp users in Zimbabwe reported that the service is down on most networks, but it is still uncertain if it was intentional.


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