Viber Joins WhatsApp With End-to-End Encryption Protecting Privacy For Its 700 Million Users

It doesn't matter if you're chatting with a co-worker about a sensitive business proposal you're putting together or bantering about basketball playoffs with a group of buddies, the idea that a third-party could be intercepting and reading your communication is creepy. Messaging providers are taking a privacy stand against such things, including Viber, which is adding end-to-end encryption to its popular platform.

Over 700 million people use Viber, more than enough to make it a target for spying from hackers and even government organizations. But just as WhatsApp has done for its more than 1 billion users, Viber's roll out of end-to-end encryption will help keep prying eyes from seeing private communication, whether the government likes it or not.


"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," Viber stated in a blog post.

Viber's making it easy to tell if your communication is encrypted or not. Once implemented, you'll see a gray padlock confirming that things are secure. As an added layer of protection, each user has their own individual cryptography key assigned to their device. You can choose to authenticate contacts as "trusted," which changes the lock color to green. If you see a red lock, it means something is wrong. Foul play isn't necessarily to blame—it could simply be that a user changed smartphones. Likewise, it could very well be a man-in-the-middle attack. Either way, the contact needs to be re-trusted for a green padlock.

Strong encryption is a point of contentious debate between technology firms and the U.S. government. The latter wants companies like Apple and Google to code methods that would allow law enforcement officials to access to locked devices, but by doing so, the security of such devices becomes inherently weaker, leaving customers at risk of attack. There's not a lot of middle ground between the two sides, as we saw when the FBI sued Apple for help in cracking an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Viber said it will begin rolling out end-to-end encryption over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, Viber has also added a Hidden Chats feature that hides communications from the main screen, as if they don't exist. The chats can be unlocked with a PIN code.