Technology

Viber Fixes its Tattletale Issues

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Last week, researchers of the University of New Haven’s (UNH) Cyber Forensics Research & Education Group detected that Viber was storing unencrypted data sent by users in its servers.

Aside from storing these images, doodles, videos and location images in their servers without encryption, it was found that they were also not even deleted at least for a week. Viber’s servers were also discovered to be easily accessed by outsiders, leading many to doubt the user privacy and security with the free messenger platform.

Viber developers subsequently promised that they would fix the issue and submit an update for iOS and Android users come Monday. And of course, because there are practically millions all over the world who are using this particular app, the team behind Viber must have felt tremendous pressure to get it right. Of course, when a problem as big as the one they are having comes around, it has to be fixed soon, or they suffer a great loss in terms of user base.

The release became available for Android download a day later, but at least Viber kept true to its word. To the delight of Viber’s user base, the update is now out and is ready to be used by every Viber user.

The New Update

The new update of Viber, version 4.3.1.21, features “enhancements to the way Viber handles photo, video and location messages”, as reported in its Google Play Store webpage. Hopefully that means that the security issue has been fixed, data encryptions were implemented, and users will not have to worry about their messages getting into the wrong hands anymore.

UNH had also ousted WhatsApp for its unsecure storage of users’ location information on their servers. They had also promised to fix the problem on their next software release. The latest update was released just this Wednesday. On its App Store description, version 2.11.186 offered a lot of upgraded features like new privacy settings and add options, though there seems to be no mention of the fixed security issue regarding user location privacy.

Improved Sticker Menu and More

Other features of the new version of Viber include an enhanced sticker menu for sticker fanatics, as well as letting users reorder stickers and create group conversations more easily. The latest update claimed to also have performance fixes, though ironically, most of the recent reviews in the App Store complained about the latest Viber not working in their devices at all. Viber may need to check on that soon.

Following in behind Google’s Footsteps

Another feature of the new update seems to resonate that of Google+ Hangouts’ update not so long ago. Identified as “integration with native contact list for calls and messages”, it is quite similar to Google’s April 24 update of merged SMS and Hangouts conversations. With this feature, users can access their conversations with a certain person all in one place, whether sent through SMS or Hangouts. Viber may have been thinking of the same idea with their new integration.

Hopefully, this very convenient feature may be further modified in the near future by various messenger apps. Many users wish that their messenger platforms would automatically send their messages via SMS if no Internet connectivity was available. Another feature that Viber has yet to offer is the group conference call of up to 10 members. This is one of the best features of Google+ Hangouts, and Skype had recently made their own group conference services free of charge as well.

Nevertheless, kudos to Viber for following up on people’s complaints of its encryption issues, although hopefully next time there won’t be any more security issues with this widely popular free messenger app.

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