Viber: hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, Again!

Internet companies beware, hackers are out in full force this month. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen Apple’s Dev Center hacked, several Instagram accounts hacked, and the popular voice and messaging service Viber attacked.

Viber claims, though, that the damage it suffered from its breach was minimal, saying the attacker only gained access to two minor support systems. But a quick glance at its App Store description suggests that wasn’t the case…

Earlier this evening, 9to5Mac pointed to the App Store description of Viber’s popular iOS app, which had clearly been defaced. The attackers replaced the text with “We created this app to spy on you, PLEASE DOWNLOAD IT!”

The site was able to grab a screenshot before the description was restored:

From a distance, it looks like this could be related to Apple’s Dev Center attack, but it’s not likely. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman suggests the hackers could have gained access to Viber’s iTunes Connect account using a phishing scam.

From the company’s initial statement on the hack:

“Today the Viber Support site was defaced after a Viber employee unfortunately fell victim to an email phishing attack. The phishing attack allowed access to two minor systems: a customer support panel and a support administration system. Information from one of these systems was posted on the defaced page.

It is very important to emphasize that no sensitive user data was exposed and that Viber’s databases were not “hacked”. Sensitive, private user information is kept in a secure system that cannot be accessed through this type of attack and is not part of our support system.

But my problem here is that Viber hasn’t been very transparent about the attack. Sure, they claim that there was no sensitive user data exposed. But they also said the hack was limited to two minor systems, which it obviously wasn’t.

As a long-time user, I think the company has some more explaining to do.

Viber was initially hacked on Tuesday, July 23rd, by the Syrian Electronic Army. The group claims the Israeli-based firm, which hosts 200 million users worldwide, is “spying and tracking” its users, and says folks should stay away.

Viber now boasts 140 million users, growing at 400,000 new users per day! New Features!

Viber 6 730x356 Free messaging and voice calling app Viber now boasts 140m users, growing at 400,000 new users per day

Viber, the mobile messaging and voice calling application that lets iOS,Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphone owners communicate for free over 3G or WiFi, has attracted 140 million users in 193 countries to date (up from 100 million last September and 90 million in July).

The company says it is currently growing with 400,000 new users per day, which means it should hit the 150 million users mark right after the holidays.

For your background: Juniper Research estimates that there will be 1 billion mobile VoIP users by 2017, so there’s still room for Viber to grow, albeit amidst intense rivalry with the likes of Skype, Tango, WhatsApp,eBuddy, KIK and BBM.

To celebrate the milestone, Viber is today releasing a ‘special fun’ version (2.3) of its mobile application for iOS and Android, adding emoticons and stickers to spruce up text and photo messages, as well as a new “Send Location” feature that allows users to share a map of any location.

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In addition, Viber has streamlined the app’s UI, and included a new setting in the Android app that enables users to select their phone’s current ringtone and message tone for Viber calls and messages to boot.

On top of applications for iOS, Windows Phone 7 and Android, Viber also offers apps for BlackBerry, Nokia (S40 / Symbian) and Bada, althought the latter three don’t (yet) include support for the free voice calling feature.

➤ Viber for iOS / Android

Viber 4 Free messaging and voice calling app Viber now boasts 140m users, growing at 400,000 new users per day