Few weeks ago, when WhatsApp announced it was now providing end-to-end encryption for its over one billion users, it was music to the ears of everyone who takes online privacy very seriously. WhatsApp was a bit late to the party, as less popular chat applications like Threema, Signaland Wickr already offer end-to-end encrypted communications. Another world leading messaging app, Viber has joined the encryption train. Better late than never, they say.
Viber’s 711 million unique users worldwide will now complete end-to-end encryption on all communications, across all devices, including Android and iPhone, iPad, Android tablets, PC and Mac desktops. This feature will be available over the coming weeks to all users who have the latest version of Viber.
“We take our users’ security and privacy very seriously, and it’s critical to us that they feel confident and protected when using Viber,” said Michael Shmilov, COO of Viber. “Because of this, we have spent a long time working on this latest update to ensure that our users have the most sophisticated security available and maximum control over their communications. We will continue to make this an ongoing priority as digital communication evolves.”
As part of this update, Viber also launches ‘Hidden Chats’ allowing users to hide specific chats from the main screen so no-one but the user knows they exist. These chats can only be accessed using a four digit PIN, providing an optional additional layer of privacy to users’ personal communications.
Furthermore, all communications can benefit from an additional layer of security through account verification. Users will see a color-coded lock on the right hand side of the screen indicating the level of security.
With messaging apps standing up to be counted in protecting users’ privacy, online communications are safer. There is no way to intercept and decipher messages sent via Viber or WhatsApp, either by a hacker, a government or the provider of the messaging apps themselves. The only places that messages sent via these secure platforms could potentially be grabbed are on the devices used to communicate. Henceforth, no one will be able to spy on communications.
“Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement. While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states,” WhatsApp stated.