Hany Fahim, founder of VM Farms, was at home watching another episode of Bob’s Burgers when one of his customers’ websites had gone down. Fahim, who runs the managed DevOps operations and cloud host company, noticed that there was an overload on their API server, and there where was a massive spike in traffic.
Believing it was a DDoS attack, Fahim picked up the phone to call the customer before another customer in the same industry — VPN and security services — went down with the same symptoms. It would be the beginning of a long night which he told TechToronto taught him a lesson about the importance of digital literacy.
As the vast majority of IPs came from Brazil, Fahim turned to Twitter and discovered that the Brazilian government had shut down Whatsapp for 48 hours — an app used by 93 percent of Brazil’s internet population — because Brazil’s telecom companies were angry that they were losing so much market share to the app.
In 2003, Brazilian government offered low-cost tax-free computers to anyone who wanted it, and mandated the use of Linux and Open Source Software — which both require some technical know-how. It didn’t surprise Fahim, then, that Brazil’s highly technical population would hit the VPN services hard.
“Government censorship and blockades rarely work, especially when you arm your people with technical knowledge, and we are way more connected than you think — my team did not think we would help the Brazilian people fight their government this way,” he said. “And if it wasn’t for Twitter, we probably would not have linked the two events together.”
Watch Fahim’s talk below: