Bringing Viber end-to-end encryption to users can also be looked at in the context of the recent face-off between the FBI and Apple, makers of the iPhone. The fall-out from that epic battle has seen many tech firms giving bigger consideration to security. It is now a race to see who can provide the best security wall for devices and softwares. Sadly for security agencies like the FBI, better encrypted devices and softwares would make their work extremely difficult.
Announcing the Viber end-to-end encryption, Michael Shmilov, the chief operating officer said,
“Today we’re excited to announce that our users will be able to securely communicate across all of their devices through end-to-end encryption. We have been working on this for a long time and are proud that our users can confidently use Viber without fear of their messages being intercepted – whether it is in a one-to-one or group message, on a call, on desktop, mobile or tablet.”
Although Viber is not as popular as Whatsapp, it also has a considerable number of people using the application. This means that another 600 million users (as at 2015) of a messaging app now have their chats securely hidden from prying eyes. If the momentum continues, Whatsapp and Viber end-to-end encryption are just the beginning. More tech firms would join the bandwagon to re-assure their clients that their services are safer than Fort Knox.
However, Viber end-to-end encryption is not available to everybody just yet. For now only users in Brazil, Belarus, Israel and Thailand have it enabled on their devices. The new feature would be rolled out to other regions of the world in the coming weeks. Fortunately, the Viber end-to-end encryption works on all devices running Viber; whether iPhone, Android phones and all kinds of personal computers.
To enjoy Viber end-to-end encryption, users must update their Viber. The level of encryption depends on what the users choose though. The levels of security would show up in form of color codes:
Grey lock: this means that the conversation is completely encrypted.
Green lock: this means you can authenticate and verify users before exchanging information with them.
Red lock: a red lock comes up if after using the green lock, a user fails re-verification. Many reasons are responsible for this including the fact that perhaps the user changed their devices or because someone else is trying to gain access to the conversation. Re-authentication is necessary in this case for Viber end-to-end encryption to resume working.
Apart from the viber end-to-end encryption, Shmilov also announced a feature that lets users hide specific chats from other people who may want to use their devices. Here is how he explained it:
“We also believe that protecting privacy isn’t synonymous with protecting private data from hackers in cyberspace, and are constantly exploring different ways to provide our users with more control over their communications. A lot of our users share tablets with their families, have personal chats while at work or plan surprises for loved ones and want to protect conversations from wandering eyes. For this reason, we’re proud to launch Hidden Chats today. This allows our users to hide specific chats from the main screen so no-one but the user knows they exist.”
photo credits: thehacknews.com; viber.com