Government of Pakistan has decided to not to use Viber for any government official for any kind of official or unofficial communication, reported “The News” and we also independently checked this with our sources.
Initial reports suggest that government of Pakistan took the decision after it received evidence that Israeli Defence Forces are handling, maintaining and using Viber for allegedly spying into users’ data.
The “National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board”, a body that works under the Cabinet Division, has reportedly sent a directive to all the ministries and divisions intimating the officials to not to use Viber because of serious security reasons.
It won’t be out of place to mention that Viber was founded by four Israeli partners, who were part of Israeli Defence Forces. Interestingly the initial funding, worth several millions dollars, came into Viber without any clear background.
Not to be mentioned, the directive to government officials claims that despite the development of Viber was outsources to an office in Belarus, the company is throughout maintained and controlled by unknown investors.
Viber was later on Sold to a Japanese based Rakutan for USD 900 million.
Due to its functionality and features, Viber is granted access to private information of mobile users, including their call lists, messages, mic, storage and location data.
Pakistan Government, in its directive, said that it is highly likely that Viber may be a state sponsored application which is capable of monitoring every activity of a user, it is very dangerous for the government officials, especially in military, to use Viber.
In a post Snowden era, where all sorts of electronic equipment is used by foreign agencies for spying into users data, it has become extremely dangerous for government officials to keep using these communication tools that are developed by the west.
Hard part is that we are so dependent on these tools that they are hard to avoid, making the whole nation completely exposed to security leakages.
Banning Viber for government officials might just not be enough of a measure, if they are seriously thinking about securing the data, they might have to come up with complete indigenous solutions (for both hardware and software) to make sure that everything stays in our hands.