Viber is rolling out end-to-end encryption for all conversations on its platform, the company announced in a blog post yesterday. More than 700 million people can now communicate securely on the messaging service, which was acquired by Japanese company Rakuten in 2014. The encryption applies to one-on-one messages, group conversations, and calls. It also works on Viber's desktop, mobile, and tablet versions. The update is being rolled out globally over the next two weeks, and users will know they're communicating securely when they see a grey padlock.
In addition to default encryption, users are also being assigned individual cryptography keys that are associated with their devices. To benefit from this extra layer of security, users can manually authenticate contacts, which will be denoted by a green padlock. A red padlock indicates a problem with authentication, which could mean a man-in-the-middle attack is taking place. The update also allows users to hide their chats from their main screen.
Viber's amplified security follows a similar move by WhatsApp earlier this month, as well as more general interest around encrypted communications after the FBI ordered Apple to subvert its own iPhone security. These measures should make users more secure and comfortable using the platforms, but that doesn't mean messages will always be completely private. As Apple's most recent case with the FBI demonstrated, vulnerabilities and hacks exist, and often times, are stockpiled for when law enforcement need access to a device.