Amazon Acquires Encrypted Messaging App Wickr
“We’re excited to share that AWS has acquired Wickr, an innovative company that has developed the industry’s most secure, end-to-end encrypted, communication technology,” Stephen Schmidt, Amazon Web Services’ vice president, wrote. With a nod to the company’s ever-deepening relationships with the military, and Washington in general, Schmidt added that Wickr’s features give “security conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements.” Schmidt himself has a background in this space: his LinkedIn profile notes he spent a decade at the FBI.
Wickr is a free top-secret messaging app allowing its users to send and receive top-secret messages, pictures, videos, audios, and files. Founded by privacy and security advocates in San Francisco in 2012, Wickr was one of the first messaging apps to adopt end-to-end encryption. Messages are encrypted by default, and the company undergoes regular security audits. As of 2017, Wickr is also open-source.
In Amazon’s case, Schmidt indicates the acquisition was at least partially influenced by the need to preserve information security while working remotely. “With the move to hybrid work environments, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises and government agencies have a growing desire to protect their communications,” he wrote.
Schmidt says AWS will be offering Wickr services effective immediately. Current Wickr users shouldn’t see significant changes for the time being.