Viber follows WhatsApp in adding end-to-end encryption to its messaging service

Calls, text messages, videos and photos will all be encrypted in a way that only intended recipients can access them

Viber, a popular instant messaging and Voice-over-IP service provider with more than 700 million users, has implemented end-to-end encryption to protect its customers' communications against snooping.

The move comes after Facebook-owned WhatsApp turned on full end-to-end encryption earlier this month, bringing secure and private instant messaging into the mainstream.

The majority of IM apps have long encrypted the communications between users' devices and their own servers. However, in such a configuration, the service providers themselves can still read communications as they pass through their servers to get routed to the intended recipients.

End-to-end encryption systems like those implemented by WhatsApp and now Viber allow user devices to establish a secure communications channel directly, making it impossible for anyone else to see the unencrypted data.

This means that even if a provider's servers are breached by hackers, they won't be able to view unencrypted user communications. It also means that companies like WhatsApp and Viber Media will be unable to comply with law enforcement requests for the content of their customers' chats or audio calls.

Viber's end-to-end encryption feature is available in the application's latest version -- 6.0 -- for Android, iOS, PCs and Macs. It provides strong privacy and security for voice or video calls, text messages and videos and photos exchanged by users in both group and one-to-one conversations.

When end-to-end encryption is used Viber users will see a grey padlock in their chats and calls. When they verify the identity of their contacts and mark them as trusted, a green padlock will appear.

The authentication keys for the trusted contacts will be monitored and if they change at some point in the future, the padlock for those conversations will turn to red. This indicates either a possible impersonation attempt by a man-in-the-middle attacker or the fact that the contact has changed their primary phone.

The new Viber version also includes a "Hidden Chats" feature. This will allow users to hide specific conversations in their Viber apps and to protect them with a PIN or a fingerprint, in the case of iOS devices that have fingerprint sensors.

While Viber and WhatsApp are not the first messaging services to implement end-to-end encryption, they are certainly some of the largest ones. Until now, to benefit from this level of secure messaging on some platforms users had to install specialized IM apps and then convince their friends to use them as well.

With the barrier to end-to-end encryption lowered and the feature becoming a default in popular messaging apps a larger percentage of Internet communications will become inaccessible to law enforcement who are already complaining about the widespread use of encryption.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about FacebookMacs

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place