Viber on Tuesday became the latest mobile messaging app to join the growing lists of companies to adopt the end-to-end encryption feature. This is coming on the heels of WhatsApp’s launch of similar features.
Viber, which announced it had clocked 50 million users in 2012, offers among other services, ability to call or text other users via Wi-Fi or 3G without incurring charges. The app, which is being used in over 193 countries, will now enable chats across its platform without beaches based on its adoption of the end-to-end encryption.
A couple of days back, WhatsApp announced it had adopted a more secure way of communication through its end-to-end encryption technology. This technology, according to the Facebook-owned messaging app, offers a stronger form of encryption to protect your privacy while using its app.
Viber, which currently boasts of around 250 million monthly active users and a total of 711 million; says the end-to-end encryption technology covers every user in over 193 countries. This means its users will be able to enjoy private and secure voice chats, and texts.
“Our users will be able to securely communicate across all of their devices through end-to-end encryption,” Viber’s chief operating officer Michael Shmilov wrote in a blog post. “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.”
End-to-end encryption technology explained
The technology is being embraced by big players in the industry basically because it protects the privacy of users, especially against hackers. Once adopted, it becomes almost impossible for Viber, WhatsApp and other mobile messaging providers to have access to conversation being shared among or between users. Perhaps, one major reason why a lot of people prefer apps that offer the technology is the fact that providers cannot be compelled by courts to reveal the content of communications.
For Viber users, the new technology will start showing on the latest version of the app. This can be confirmed through a gray padlock that will appear next to conversations within the next couple weeks, reports Fortune. The report further adds that every Viber user will get a cryptographic key, which can be used to verify identities and also allow the padlock to turn green to indicate extra security.
While Viber’s end-to-end encryption has not yet been fully tested and confirmed to be top notch (basically because no white paper has been published yet on cryptographic technology); the same cannot be said of WhatsApp that has been hailed by a lot of industry watchers. Trust is a basic element when it comes to chat and messaging apps, and WhatsApp seems to be leading Viber in this area.
As Fortune notes in its report, WhatsApp’s “encryption are well-known and well-respected, and that code has been thoroughly inspected.” However, Viber quickly allayed fears of its users when it told Fortune that it had already conducted internal audits of its code, and plans are well on track to commission external audits in the next couple of weeks.