|Developer(s)||Wire Swiss GmbH|
|Initial release||3 December 2014|
|Alexa rank||77,148 (October 2017)|
Wire is a cross-platform, encrypted instant messaging client created by Wire Swiss. It is available for iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, macOS and Web browser clients. It uses the Internet to make voice and video calls; send text messages, files, images, videos, audio files and user drawings depending on the clients used. It can be used on any of the available clients, requiring a phone number or email for registration.
Wire Swiss GmbH launched the Wire app on 3 December 2014. Shortly after its launch, the company retracted a claim from their website that the app's messages and conversation history could only be read by the conversation participants. In August 2015, the company added group calling to their app. From its launch until March 2016, Wire's messages were only encrypted between the client and the company's server. In March 2016, the company added end-to-end encryption for its messaging traffic, as well as a video calling feature. Wire Swiss GmbH released the source code of the Wire client applications in July 2016.
Wire allows users to exchange text, voice, photo, video and music messages. The application also supports group messaging.
The app allows group calling with up to ten participants. A stereo feature places participants in "virtual space" so that users can differentiate voice directionality. The application adapts to varying network conditions.
The application supports the exchange of animated GIFs up to 5MB through a media integration with a company called Giphy. The iOS and Android versions also include a sketch feature that allows users to draw a sketch into a conversation or over a photo. YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Vimeo integrations allow users to share music and videos within chats.
With Wire for Teams, Wire introduced a paid product with a series of features available to businesses. It offers the administration of team members: Adding and removing people, assigning roles, and inviting guests to specific chats.
Wire provides end-to-end encryption for its instant messages. Wire's instant messages are encrypted with Proteus, a protocol that Wire Swiss developed based on the Signal Protocol. Wire's voice calls are encrypted with DTLS and SRTP,. In addition to this, client-server communication is protected by Transport Layer Security.
In May 2017, Motherboard published an article saying that the Wire servers "keep a list of all the users a customer contacted until they delete their account". Wire Swiss confirmed that the statement was accurate, saying that they keep the data in order to "help with syncing conversations across multiple devices", and that they might change their approach in the future.
In December 2016, Wire's whitepapers were reviewed by a security researcher at the University of Waterloo. The researcher praised Wire for its open approach to security, but identified serious issues that still need addressing. These included a man-in-the-middle attack on voice and video communications, possible audio and video leakage depending on unspecified codec parameters, the fact that all user passwords are uploaded to Wire's servers, significant attack surface for code replacement in the desktop client, and the fact that the server is not open sourced. The researcher described the security of Wire as weak in comparison to Signal, but also depicted its problems as surmountable. Wire's developers announced the addition of end-to-end authentication to Wire's calls on 14 March 2017, and started open-sourcing Wire's server code on 7 April 2017. In March 2017, the review was updated with the conclusion that "the remaining issues with Wire are relatively minor and also affect many of its competitors."
On 9 February 2017, Kudelski Security and X41 D-Sec published a joint review of Wire’s encrypted messaging protocol implementation. Non-critical issues were found that had the potential of leading to a degraded security level. The review found that "invalid public keys could be transmitted and processed without raising an error." The report also recommended that other security improvements be implemented to address thread-unsafety risks and sensitive data in memory. Wire's developers have said that "the issues that were discovered during the review have been fixed and deployed on iOS and Android. Deployment is ongoing for Wire for Web and desktop apps."
Wire Swiss GmbH receives financial backing from a firm called Iconical. According to an article published by Reuters, Wire Swiss has not disclosed how much funding it has received, and in March 2016, it had yet to discover a sustainable business model. Wire Executive Chairman Janus Friis told Bloomberg that the company will "never create an advertising-based business model", but "might charge for certain premium services in the future".
In July 2017, Wire Swiss announced the beta version of an end-to-end encrypted team messaging platform. In October 2017, Wire officially released the team messaging platform as a subscription based communication solution for small businesses.
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