Wickr

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Wickr
Founded 2012 (2012)
Headquarters San Francisco, United States
Key people
Website www.wickr.com

Wickr is an American software company based in San Francisco.[1] The company is best known for its instant messenger application of the same name.

The Wickr instant messaging app allows users to exchange end-to-end encrypted and content-expiring messages, including photos, videos, and file attachments. The software is available for the iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

History[edit]

Wickr was founded in 2012 by a group of security experts and privacy advocates.[2] Nico Sell served as the company's CEO until May 2015 when she became the co-chairman of Wickr and CEO of Wickr Foundation, the newly launched nonprofit whose seed funding was provided by the company.[3] Mark Fields, who previously led CME's Strategic Investment Group, became the company’s CEO.[4] He served in that position until November 2016, when he was replaced by Joel Wallenstrom, co-founder of iSec Partners, becoming the company's CEO and President.[5][6]

App[edit]

Wickr
Developer(s) Wickr Inc.
Initial release June 2012 (2012-06)
Stable release
  • Android:
    2.6.3 (March 1, 2016; 11 months ago (2016-03-01)) [±]
  • iOS:
    2.6.3 (March 1, 2016; 11 months ago (2016-03-01)) [±]
  • Windows:
    2.6.0 [±]
  • Mac OS X:
    2.6.0 [±]
  • Linux:
    2.6.0 [±]
Development status Active
Operating system iOS, Android, desktop
Type Instant Messaging
License Proprietary
Website www.wickr.com

Initially unveiled on iOS and later on Android, the Wickr app allows users to set an expiration time for their encrypted communications.[7] In December 2014, Wickr released a desktop version of its secure communications platform. The release of the desktop Wickr app coincided with introducing the ability to sync messages across multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers.[8]

All communications on Wickr are encrypted locally on each device with a new key generated for each new message, meaning that no one except Wickr users have the keys to decipher their content. In addition to encrypting user data and conversations, Wickr strips metadata from all content transmitted through the network.[9]

Since its launch, Wickr has gone through regular security audits by prominent information security organizations, which verified Wickr's code, security and policies.[10] Wickr has also launched a "bug bounty program" that offers a reward to hackers who can find a vulnerability in the app.[11]

On January 5, 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Wickr a score of 5 out of 7 points on their "Secure Messaging Scorecard".[12] It received points for having communications encrypted in transit, having communications encrypted with keys the provider didn't have access to (end-to-end encryption), making it possible for users to independently verify their correspondent's identities, having past communications secure if the keys were stolen (forward secrecy), and having completed a recent independent security audit. It was missing points because its source code was not open to independent review (open source), and because its security design was not well-documented.[12] In 2015, Wickr published a white paper outlining the encryption protocol that they use for end-to-end encryption.[13]

In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that Wickr, among only nine companies earned stars in every applicable category for its effort to protect user privacy: “We commend Wickr for its strong stance regarding user rights, transparency, and privacy.”[14]

In December 2016, Wickr announced Wickr Professional, a new business collaboration and communication product designed to couple the functionality of tools like Slack with end-to-end encryption and ephemerality.[15]

In February 2017, Wickr opened one of its crypto protocols for public review on GitHub and published a paper “The Wickr Messaging Protocol” as an aid to those who wish to review the source code.[16][17][18] At the time of its publication, the crypto protocol was only used in the company's enterprise product, Wickr Professional.[17] The company said that its consumer product, Wickr Messenger, still uses another protocol, and that they intend to replace this protocol with the one that they published.[17]

Funding[edit]

In March 2014, Wickr announced its Series A funding round of $9 million led by Gilman Louie of Alsop Louie Partners. The series also included investments from Juniper Networks and the Knight Foundation.[19]

In June 2014, Wickr announced its Series B funding round of $30 million led by Breyer Capital, including CME Group and Wargaming.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacMillan, Douglas (June 25, 2014). "A startup looks for business in secrecy". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (June 27, 2012). "An app that encrypts, shreds, hashes and salts". New York Times. 
  3. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 6, 2015). "Encrypted Chat App Wickr Creates New Non-Profit Arm". TechCrunch. 
  4. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (May 6, 2015). "Wickr adds a new chief executive and a nonprofit". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Pfeifle, Sam (2016-11-06). "New Wickr CEO looks to build on ephemeral messaging". iapp.org. The International Association of Privacy Professionals. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  6. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (2016-11-06). "Wickr – Making Ephemerality & Encryption a New Norm". wickr.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  7. ^ Sier, Jessica (May 29, 2015). "Apps to keep your messages secret in the data retention age". Australian Financial Review. 
  8. ^ Scharr, Jill (December 4, 2014). "Wickr launches desktop private messaging application". TechCrunch. 
  9. ^ Thompson, Cadie (February 6, 2014). "Snapchat rival hopes to pounce on security breach". CNBC. 
  10. ^ Franceschi Bicchiera, Lorenzo (March 4, 2013). "Can the snapshot for grownups save you from spies?". Mashable. 
  11. ^ Kirk, Jeremy (January 15, 2014). "Encrypted messaging startup Wickr offers 100k bug bounty". PC World. 
  12. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Wickr Messaging Protocol" (PDF) (Whitepaper). Wickr Inc. 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Who Has Your Back". The Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  15. ^ Greenberg, Andy (December 6, 2016). "This App Wants to Be Your Encrypted, Self-Destructing Slack". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  16. ^ Conger, Kate (February 15, 2017). "Encrypted chat app Wickr opens code for public review". TechCrunch. 
  17. ^ a b c Eddy, Max (February 15, 2017). "Wickr Releases Crypto Protocol on GitHub". PCMag. 
  18. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (February 15, 2017). "Wickr's Core Crypto Goes Public". Wickr Blog. 
  19. ^ Fried, Ina (March 3, 2014). "Wickr secures $9 million to fund its privacy-focused messaging service". Recode. 
  20. ^ Finkle, Jim (June 26, 2014). "Wickr raises $30 million; investors include CME Group, Wargaming". Reuters. 

External links[edit]