Worried About Viber’s Future in Russia? This App Solves Your ProblemsPublished by Gray Williams on February 23, 2019
Viber is one of the most popular messenger applications in all of Russia, having raced past WhatsApp in 2016 and reaching 100 million users in 2018.
Thus, many Russians were quite upset in April 2018 when their service with Viber experienced enormous outages and many were without their favorite communication app for several days.
If you are using Viber or Telegram in Russia, you can make sure to have 100% connectivity at all times through the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Why does Russia block Instant Messengers?
Russia’s government established an Internet blacklist in November 2012. In July 2017, Vladimir Putin signed a bill that banned all VPns, anonymizers, and any other form of software that had the purpose of hiding correspondence or web traffic from ISPs and government agencies. This included Telegram, which uses end-to-end encryption for users of its instant messenger services.
The bill became law in April 2018, and Russia authorities began trying to block Telegram, resulting in several key components supporting Viber also going dark, causing the lack of connectivity.
Viber’s ownership took to the Internet to explain to its membership what had happened and compared the situation to one in Iran, where Viber had lost 20 million customers “thanks” to government interference.
Viber’s Future in Russia
Some suggest Viber is getting a free pass due its long-term relationship in the country, but it is more likely that Russia simply does not have the digital firepower to enforce such a stringent ban. Announcing a ban and then being powerless to enforce it makes a government look somewhere between foolish and impotent.
However, Russia is one of the world’s best cyber-industry countries, meaning at some point it will crack the code to blocking Viber if the company does not comply with its demands to release its encryption codes. When that day comes, anyone without a VPN will be powerless to access Viber.
Best VPNs for Russia
VyprVPN dates back to 2010 and hails out of Switzerland. As would be expected of any company trying to outsmart Russia censorship, VyprVPN has impressive security details including 256-bit AES encryption, zero-knowledge DNS, its own NAT Firewall, and a host of accepted encryption protocols including Chameleon, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and OpenVPN.
Not only does the company have fast download and upload speeds, but it also does not limit bandwidth for customers regardless of how much they’ve used at any given time in a month. It has a wide range of servers, featuring more than 200,000 IP addresses spread across 700 servers in 70 locations. It also has apps for all 10 supported software platforms.
Speaking of hardcore security, SaferVPN is located in Israel, which has impressive laws when it comes to personal and data privacy, so expect to be covered thoroughly. It offers a kill switch, and is open to encryption from PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and OPenVPN.
It does not keep logs and also recently stopped storing IP addresses; this is a company dedicated to individual privacy and security, which is much-needed in a country like Russia where being caught visiting banned websites can carry a harsh punishment.
To be sure it’s the right VPN for you, SaferVPN has a free 24-hour trial with unlimited bandwidth as well a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can really utilize if you’ll be in Russia for a short period of time.
Trust.Zone VPN security is largely limited to a kill switch and solid encryption, but it’s a great fit if you’re a first-time VPN user or on who will be using it on a limited basis while visiting Russia for a short period.
The VPN does not keep logs, which is a tremendous asset in a country that so vigilantly practices censorship. It also has a 10-day refund policy in place; which means if you are in Russia for a short trip, you can get the VPN service for free by canceling it before that 10-day window expires.
Trust.Zone is very affordable and its unlimited bandwidth is a standard feature, something that a lot of VPNs don’t offer without an increase in your per month subscription.