Viber: WhatsApp rival launches 'Secret Chats' to protect users from CIA spying

Messaging app Viber has introduced a new feature called ‘Secret Chats’, designed to protect users from the prying eyes of CIA agents.

It takes tips from Snapchat, with messages self-destructing after a specific amount of time, which users set themselves.

Secret Chats also features screenshot restrictions. Only iOS users can capture screenshots of conversations, and Viber will notify users when this happens. 

Secret Chats allows users to hold two simultaneous conversations with the same contact, with the protected conversation marked with a lock symbol. 

Furthermore, in Secret Chats Viber doesn’t allow messages to be forwarded, and new message notifications simply read ‘Message’, with both the contact’s name and content hidden. 

“Having a messaging app that connects you to the people you care about is great – unless you feel like you can’t talk about everything you want,” reads the Viber blog post announcing Secret Chats.

“Our goal is to continue to bring you features that will enable you to communicate without limitation and without hesitation.”

WikiLeaks’ recent Vault 7 data release alleged that the CIA has worked out ways to bypass encryption on a number of popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, by hacking phones directly. 

“These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the ‘smart’ phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied,” reads a release detailing the claim.

Viber introduced end-to-end encryption – which also applies to Secret Chats – last year, but the company clearly believes the new self-destruct feature goes a step further. 

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