Viber

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Rakuten Viber
Rakuten Viber new 2017 logo.png
Original author(s) Viber Media
Developer(s) Rakuten Inc.
Initial release December 2, 2010; 6 years ago (2010-12-02)
Development status Active
Written in C/C++/Python (desktop, using SIP and Qt frameworks), Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android)
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in 30 languages[1]
Type Instant messaging client & VoIP
License Freeware, proprietary
Website www.viber.com

Viber is a free, cross-platform instant messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) application that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company Viber Media that was bought by the Japanese multinational company Rakuten. In addition to instant messaging, users can exchange images, video and audio media messages by sending files to each other. As of December 2016, Viber had 800 million registered users.[2]

History[edit]

Viber was developed by Viber Media. Viber Media was founded in Tel Aviv, Israel by a former chief information officer in the Israeli military, Talmon Marco,[3] along with Igor Magazinnik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha.[4][5] Viber was initially launched for iPhone on December 2, 2010, in direct competition with Skype. An Android version was released on July 19, 2012. Viber for BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices was launched on May 8, 2012.[6] On reaching 90 million users on July 24, 2012, group messaging service and HD Voice engine were added to both Android and iPhone applications. Applications for Nokia's Series 40, Symbian and Samsung's Bada platform were also announced on the same day.[7][8][9][10]

Viber with voice was officially released for all Windows Phone 8 devices on April 2, 2013.[11]

On July 24, 2013, Viber's support system was defaced by the Syrian Electronic Army. According to Viber, no sensitive user information was accessed.[12]

In August 2013, Viber for Linux was released as a public beta[13] and in August 2014 a final version.[14]

On February 13, 2014, Rakuten announced they had acquired Viber for $900 million.[15] The sale of Viber earned the Shabtai family (Benny, his brother Gilad, and Gilad's son Ofer) some $500 million from their 55.2% stake in the company.[16][17]

Security[edit]

On November 4, 2014, Viber scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Secure Messaging Scorecard". Viber received a point for encryption during transit but lost points because communications were not encrypted with keys that the provider didn't have access to (i.e. the communications were not end-to-end encrypted), users could not verify contacts' identities, past messages were not secure if the encryption keys were stolen (i.e. the service did not provide forward secrecy), the code was not open to independent review (i.e. the code was not open-source), the security design was not properly documented, and there had not been a recent independent security audit.[18][19] On November 14, 2014, the EFF changed Viber's score to 2 out of 7 after it had received an external security audit from Ernst & Young's Advanced Security Centre.[18]

On April 19, 2016, Viber Media added end-to-end encryption to their service, but only for one-to-one and group conversations in which all participants are using the latest Viber version for Android, iOS, Desktop or Windows 10.[20][21] The company said that the encryption protocol had only been audited internally, and promised to commission external audits "in the coming weeks".[22] In May 2016, Viber published an overview of their encryption protocol, saying that it is a custom implementation that "uses the same concepts" as the Signal Protocol.[23]

Features[edit]

The actual functionality varies from platform to platform. Viber includes text, picture and video messaging across all platforms, with voice calling available only to iPhone, Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone although HD voice is planned for Windows Phone 8.[24]

As of December 2013, Viber officially launched Viber Out, a feature that provides users the option to call mobile and landline numbers. Viber Out was originally released in November only to help Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines connect with their loved ones.

Viber's desktop version uses TCP and UDP ports 5242, 4244, 5243, 9785, and the standard HTTP/HTTPS ports 80 and 443.[25]

In November 2016, Viber launched Public Accounts, to allow brands to engage in promotion and customer service on the platform. The Huffington Post, Yandex and The Weather Channel were the first to use it.[2] The app allows its users to send a video message in one-push but to use numerous in-chat bot.[2]

Company[edit]

Viber Media is a Las Vegas and Cyprus-registered company with its development centers in Belarus and Israel.[26][27][28][29] The company was founded by Marco and Magazinnik, who are friends from the Israel Defense Forces.[30] The company is run from Israel, with much of its development outsourced to Belarus in order to lower labor-costs.[30]

Founded in 2010, Viber was co-owned by its four Israelis: Marco, Magazinnik, Maroli and Smocha, prior to the startup's $900 million sale to Rakuten. At that sale price, the founders each realized over 30 times return on their investments.[5]

Marco and Magazinnik are also co-founders of the P2P media and file-sharing client iMesh.[31]

In its first two years of availability, Viber did not generate revenues. It began doing so in 2013, via user payments for Viber Out voice calling and the Viber graphical messaging "sticker store". The company was originally funded by individual investors, described by Marco as "friends and family".[32] They invested $20 million in the company, which had 120 employees as of May 2013.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Supported Languages". Viber. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/09/viber-follows-messenger-with-the-launch-of-public-accounts-for-businesses-and-brands/
  3. ^ Henry Mance. Six things to know about Viber. Financial Times. February 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Jessica Geller. Messaging app Viber names Boston its US headquarters. The Boston Globe. October 16, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "אקזיט ענק: רקוטן היפנית רוכשת את וייבר תמורת כ-900 מיליון דולר". כלכליסט - www.calcalist.co.il. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Viber for BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 Now Available Archived May 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  8. ^ "Nokia Store: Download Viber and many other games, wallpaper, ringtones and mobile apps on your Nokia phone". Store.ovi.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  9. ^ Cooper, Daniel (September 11, 2012). "Viber comes to Symbian, S40 and Bada, adds HD voice calling and group messaging to Nokia Lumia handsets". Engadget. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Viber for Bada - Free messages on Samsung Bada". Viber.com. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  11. ^ "WP8 Users Rejoice! Viber With Voice For Windows Phone 8 Has Been Released". Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  12. ^ Crook, Jordan. "Viber Attacked By Syrian Electronic Army". TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Popular mobile IM/VoIP app 'Viber' available for Linux". WebUpd8. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Viber 4.2 Finally Released For Linux". phoronix. 
  15. ^ "Japanese Internet Giant Rakuten Acquires Viber For $900M". TechCrunch. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ "בני שבתאי את הונו מעבודה בקזינו בסווזילנדהעצום - כל הדרךכוכב שבתאי: כך בנה איש העסקים" [The Star of Shabtai: This is How the Businessman Benny Shabtai Has Amassed His Huge Fortune]. Forbes (in Hebrew). 6 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Most of Viber's owners are based abroad including the Shabtais with a 55.2% stake". Globes. 16 February 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  19. ^ "Only 6 Messaging Apps Are Truly Secure". PC Magazine. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (19 April 2016). "Viber adds end-to-end encryption and hidden chats as the messaging app privacy wave grows". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Viber Media (n.d.). "Viber Security FAQ". support.viber.com. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  22. ^ Meyer, David (19 April 2016). "Another Big Messaging App Joins the End-to-End Encryption Party". Fortune. Time Inc. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "Viber Encryption Overview". Viber. 3 May 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  24. ^ "Viber's HD Voice Feature for Windows Phone 8 "Coming Very Soon"". Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  25. ^ "Opening ports for Viber Desktop". Viber. Viber Media S.à r.l. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  26. ^ Viber sold for $900m by Hillel Koren, 14/02/2014, 14:55
  27. ^ "Viber - DMCA Policy". Viber. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Viber Media". Foursquare. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "Top 10 iPhone apps from Israel". ISRAEL21c. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  30. ^ a b The Skype Killers of Belarus By Brett Forrest August 23, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek, Technology
  31. ^ Talmon Marco's profile on LinkedIn
  32. ^ "Viber founder: 'People should be concerned about privacy'". theguardian. 
  33. ^ Parmy Olson (7 May 2013). "Free-Calling App Viber Jumps To Desktop, Hits 200 Million Users". Forbes. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 

External links[edit]