ISLAMABAD ( MEDIA )
The Government of Pakistan has officially barred its officials from using the Viber Mobile application for being sponsored, handled and used for spying by the Israeli Defence Forces, documents available with The News reveal.
The National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board working under the Cabinet Division has sent a memo to all the ministries and divisions intimating the officials not to use Viber because of serious security reasons.
The memo says: ‘Viber is the most downloaded mobile application and there are serious security concerns regarding the application. “Viber was founded by four Israeli partners, Talmon Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and offer Samocha with Talmon Marco as its CEO. Viber was initially launched for Iphone on December 2, 2010 in direct competition with Skype. Viber has over 100 million monthly active users from its 280 million users. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakutan acquired Viber media for 4900 million in February 2014. Founders of Viber are associated to the Israeli defence forces.
Viber media controlled from Israel and its development is outsourced to Belarus. Strangest part in Viber media story is that the company was funded by individual investors, who Marco described as friends and family. A huge investment of $20 million had been invested in the company, as of May 2013”, the documents reveal.
Regarding the cyber security concerns in Viber the government of Pakistan has informed all the officials that “A copy of the phones address book and call details record are stored on Viber server. Location information is stored on Viber server. Viber can share or disclose collected user information to comply with their trusted law enforcement agencies. Viber can perform following actions on a mobile; Read phone status and identity; Read your text messages (SMS/MMS); Record audio; Approximated location network based; Precise location GPS and Network based; Read call logs; Read contacts; Read our social stream; Modify or delete the contents of your usb storage; Find account on a device; Read google services configuration; Use account on the device; Network connectivity; Full network access; Google play billing service; View wifi connections; Retrieve running applications; Read sync setting; Modify system settings and Test access to protected storage.
The documents further reveal that Following security concerns are identified in Viber: “Viber application reads private information from mobile such as contacts, call logs, sms location, etc. and sends the information to its servers. Viber media does not have known investors therefore it is highly likely that it may be a state sponsored application which I capable of monitoring every activity of a user. Unwary users leak sensitive/personal information about their friend e.g. a person save contact details of his friends as Maj Ali, Sec xxx, ISI Military, Navy or Air Force unit” such practice helps Viber in identification of a security concern individuals who do not share their information online. Viber uses a number of unauthorized techniques including cookies, clear GIFs and other automatic data collection techniques to spy and track its users.”
‘Recommendation: Keeping above it is strongly recommended that Viber may not be used by any official users/sensitive appointments or if unavoidable a separate mobile be used for the purpose.’
Via…The News Islamabad