WhatsApp now has Video Call !!

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Yes you read the title right or you may have already used it. WhatsApp, the infamous instant messaging app, used by almost everybody, has enabled the Video Call feature for all its users since its latest update this week. The feature was only for its beta users but its now finally here for all of us. I decided to take it for a spin and following is my take on it.

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I’m Back !!

Hey, it’s been a while since I was here!! But now i’m back! 😀 In fact, I had some technical issues with the blog itself, and then the hosting space, but everything is good now! Still working on some nuts and bolts of the blog but it’s up and running.

Lots’ happened since my last time here, did awesome projects, flew Business Class on Emirates, established my own Business (to-be-announced soon), started a huge project, etc etc. That’s why I did not concentrate that much to getting the blog back, as it was quite a busy period.

It’s soo good to be back to this editor and type my mind out. Two articles are brewing and will be published in the coming days. So stay tuned! and Welcome Back 😀

Irshaad

Phone Tapping and IMSI-Catchers

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Following a Parliamentary Question [1] to the Prime Minister of Mauritius on Tuesday 19 April 2016 by an Opposition member, an widespread interest was created about telephone tapping in the country especially after what the Opposition member described as a van lurking around the house of opposition members in order to listen to conversations. Days later,  a weekly newspaper published a 3-page article [2] on the whole phone tapping in Mauritius and mentioned about an IMSI-Catcher which is basically a device that spoofs your mobile telephony provider’s Base Transceiver Station (In an nutshell, Base that connects your mobile phone to the telephony network) and acts as a middle-man between your device and the providers network thus capturing all of your communications. Out of my usual curiosity, I wanted to know more about it and clarify some doubts I had. I knew about the IMSI-Catcher technique and remembered an article by a hacker by the name of Simone Margaritelli who once assembled a relatively cheap bench rogue-BTS using a Raspberry Pi [3] that, if tweaked, could be used for that same purpose, intercept communications. I contacted him and he very kindly accepted to reply to my questions.

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WhatsApp down 31 Dec 2015 – 1 Jan 2016

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So, we are again at the New Year, and that’s the pain for sysadmins of messaging services or any other telecommunication systems. And that’s because of the servers’ or networks’ saturation due to the huge traffic from their users, trying to send New Year wishes messages to their friends and relatives. Usually such issues happen with mobile phone networks, GSM, 2G, 3G, 4G etc, but for the second consecutive year, the online services too are suffering from those bottle necks. The most complained service this year or last year for some, is WhatsApp. At first, I got messages from friends in Mauritius asking about the issue, but it was working fine for me. Some even thought the service was blocked by the government. Mine was working fine (In Turkey), and posted about the WhatsApp issue on my Facebook page [1], and then noticed that it’s not in Mauritius only. Then, as time went, I started to experience issues here too, and it’s obvious, the New Year is 2 hours before Turkey’s , and it also confirms the fact that the issue was due to high traffic. News websites were also reporting about same [2]. But its good to note that the official Twitter Account @wa_status where WhatsApp post system updates, had no indication at all about that downtime, but their in-app system status page displayed a “server experiencing a problem” message.

To check about the worldwide extent of the problem, I collected testimonials from friends around the world and confirmed once more my hypothesis (Sorry for that term, I had an Stats exam this morning 😛 )

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