Just a few weeks ago, WhatsApp incorporated end-to-end encryption into its messaging service. And now it’s Viber’s turn, another major messaging platform that joined the wave of apps to update their privacy features.
With more than 711 million users on Viber, the app decided to introduce end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls, including group chats. In case you didn’t know, Viber allows voice conferences between up to 200 people.
The company — under Japanese leadership since the 2014 purchase — said the new features will become available globally over the coming weeks. Today, four countries have gained access, Israel, Brazil, Belarus, and Thailand, which are also the locations where Viber centers most of its R&D.
Viber announced the encryption services will work on iOS, Android, PCs and Mac desktops, as long as they use the latest app update (6.0) which automatically turns on the features.
Almost all messaging apps with a decent number of users use a form of transit encryption, but adopting end-to-end encryption means that service providers have zero access points to the messages they transmit.
According to Michael Shmilov, Viber’s COO, the app had been developing the end-to-end encryption feature for some years now, so why the delay?
The fact that the update was announced only weeks after WhatsApp’s news is a sign of the times – users are increasingly demanding more security these days.
At the same time, it also suggests that the messaging app landscape has become very competitive; if you don’t want your app to be left behind, you make sure no rival has more features than you.
If you’re not sure when end-to-end encryption will reach you, just check for a color-coded lock on the right side of the screen. For example, if the conversation is fully encrypted, the lock will be gray.
If you select the green lock, the users you communicate with will be asked to additionally authenticate before each conversation. This option can be useful if you’re talking to someone who shares their account – with a partner or a child, for instance.
If you encounter a red lock, however, it means that a trusted user did not pass re-authentication at their end. This could happen for a number of reasons, including changing one’s device or – the worse case scenario – when someone is trying to access the data forcefully.
Viber said that users need to re-authenticate if they want security and encryption to come back into effect.
Image Source: Neruogadget