Wickr

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Wickr
Private
IndustrySoftware
Founded2012 (2012)
Headquarters
San Francisco
,
United States
Key people
Websitewww.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 apps allow users to exchange end-to-end encrypted and content-expiring messages, including photos, videos, and file attachments and place end-to-end encrypted video conference calls.[2] The software is available for the iOS, Android, Mac, Windows 10, and Linux operating systems.

In November 2018, Wickr was chosen as a leader among the 10 selected emerging technology companies that research firm Forrester invited to participate in its independent evaluation[3].

According to the report, Wickr received the highest possible score of “differentiated” in the criteria of encryption and key management, user privacy and verification, performance, enhanced security or privacy functionality, customizations and integrations, deployment and management, vision and execution, and global reach and customer support[4].

History[edit]

Wickr was founded in 2012 by a group of security experts and privacy advocates.[5] 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.[6] Mark Fields, who previously led CME's Strategic Investment Group, became the company's CEO.[7] 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.[8][9]

Apps[edit]

Wickr Messenger[edit]

Wickr Messenger
Developer(s)Wickr Inc.
Initial releaseJune 2012 (2012-06)
Operating systemiOS, Android, desktop
TypeInstant Messaging
LicenseProprietary
Websitewww.wickr.com

Initially unveiled on iOS and later on Android, the Wickr app allows users to set an expiration time for their encrypted communications.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

Since its launch, Wickr has gone through regular security audits by prominent information security organizations, which verified Wickr's code, security and policies.[13] Wickr has also launched a "bug bounty program" that offers a reward to hackers who can find a vulnerability in the app.[14]

On January 5, 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Wickr a score of 5 out of 7 points on their "Secure Messaging Scorecard".[15] 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, and because its security design was not well-documented.[15] In 2015, Wickr published a white paper outlining the encryption protocol that they use for end-to-end encryption.[16] However, the EFF is currently working on a new Secure Messaging Scorecard, and now that Wickr Me has an open source cryptographic protocol as of August 2017, this score is expected to rise.[17]

In August 2017, the company announced that its free consumer product Wickr Me, is now using the same crypto protocol, open for independent public review as its paid collaboration platform Wickr Pro.[18][19]

In February 2018, Wickr Me added free end-to-end encrypted calling with perfect forward secrecy.[2]

Wickr Pro[edit]

Wickr Pro
Developer(s)Wickr Inc.
Initial releaseDecember 2016 (2016-12)
Stable release(s)
  • Android:
    5.14.3 (April 25, 2019; 23 days ago (2019-04-25)) [±]
  • iOS:
    5.14.2 (May 2, 2019; 16 days ago (2019-05-02)) [±]
  • Windows:
    5.14.6 [±]
  • Mac OS X:
    5.14.4 [±]
  • Linux:
    5.14.4 [±]
TypeCollaboration
LicenseProprietary
Websitewww.wickr.com

In December 2016, Wickr announced Wickr Professional (now Wickr Pro), a new business collaboration and communication product designed to couple the functionality of tools like Slack with end-to-end encryption and ephemerality.[20]

In February 2017, Wickr opened its crypto protocol 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.[21][22][23]

In July 2017, Wickr Pro added secure group calling and video conferencing allowing teams in different companies to place conference end-to-end encrypted calls.[24]

In November 2018, Wickr relaunched their most popular product that includes three plans. The basic plan allows the first 10 registered users to sign up free of charge, while experiencing Wickr Pro features such as 1:1 and group secure voice and video calling, secure screen share[25] and file upload, message expiration settings, and inviting Wickr Me users to cross-collaborate. Silver and Gold plans were also included as an upgrade paid feature for larger teams and enterprises [26].

Wickr Enterprise[edit]

Wickr Enterprise is Wickr's fully loaded, fully customizable product. Wickr Enterprise enables users to comply with any regulatory requirements – ranging from government, law firms, professional services, to enterprises with strict compliance requirements (HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, FRA, etc.)[27]. Wickr Enterprise also provides a multi-cloud, customer hosted series of deployment options – in the cloud or on-prem.

Features[edit]

Wickr Open Access(™)[edit]

Wickr Open Access(™) is a smart VPN that permits users in Wickr Pro and Enterprise to overcome geo or weak WIFI challenges and disables network traffic from interfering [28][29]. Strict Wickr Open Access was added to give admins the ability to bump users to have Wickr Open Access always enabled.

Location Sharing[edit]

Location sharing was added in November 2018 for iOS and Desktop for Wickr Pro and Enterprise users.

My Status[edit]

My status was a new feature added to Wickr Pro and Enterprise that gives users the ability to share their online activity with other users. This can be enabled on a per-device basis, and from the admin console for all users. If show status is disabled in the network dashboard, it would turn off the feature for all users under the network, where nobody's status would be shared.

SSO[edit]

Single Sign On was added to Wickr Pro and Enterprise in June 2018 to help in making Wickr a more efficient and user friendly app[30].

SDK & White labeling[edit]

WickrIO SDK allows outside companies to utilize the functionality of Wickr's end-to-end encrypted message system, while promoting their own brand image. This feature is only available for Wickr Enterprise and Wickr Pro Gold customers[31][32].

Wickr Bot[edit]

Wickr Bot includes a Welcome Bot, and Calendar Bot that can help users with any problems they have within the app. The Welcome Bot helps in greeting new users and old users with forgotten passwords. The Calendar Bot is capable of listing events and creating new events on users’ calendars. 

WickrIO[edit]

Wickr integrates their products with multiple organizations in security, IT networks, federal, and government sectors[33]. Major partnerships include Merlin, Psiphon, Okta, vmware, and Aelius [34].

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.[35]

In June 2014, Wickr announced its Series B funding round of $30 million led by Breyer Capital, including CME Group and Wargaming.[36]

Reception[edit]

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.”[37]

In 2017, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that Wickr, again among only nine companies who earned stars in every category the EFF evaluated in this year's report: “We applaud Wickr’s policies related to transparency and user privacy.”[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacMillan, Douglas (June 25, 2014). "A startup looks for business in secrecy". Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ a b Ehrenkranz, Melanie. "Wickr Just Made It Easier to Keep Snoops Out of Your Next Conference Call". Gizmodo. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Wickr. "Wickr Named a Leader in Secure Communications". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "The Forrester New Wave™: Secure Communications, Q4 2018". www.forrester.com. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (June 27, 2012). "An app that encrypts, shreds, hashes and salts". New York Times.
  6. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 6, 2015). "Encrypted Chat App Wickr Creates New Non-Profit Arm". TechCrunch.
  7. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (May 6, 2015). "Wickr adds a new chief executive and a nonprofit". New York Times.
  8. ^ Pfeifle, Sam (November 6, 2016). "New Wickr CEO looks to build on ephemeral messaging". iapp.org. The International Association of Privacy Professionals. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (November 6, 2016). "Wickr – Making Ephemerality & Encryption a New Norm". wickr.com. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Sier, Jessica (May 29, 2015). "Apps to keep your messages secret in the data retention age". Australian Financial Review.
  11. ^ Scharr, Jill (December 4, 2014). "Wickr launches desktop private messaging application". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Thompson, Cadie (February 6, 2014). "Snapchat rival hopes to pounce on security breach". CNBC.
  13. ^ Franceschi Bicchiera, Lorenzo (March 4, 2013). "Can the snapshot for grownups save you from spies?". Mashable.
  14. ^ Kirk, Jeremy (January 15, 2014). "Encrypted messaging startup Wickr offers 100k bug bounty". PC World.
  15. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. January 5, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  16. ^ "Wickr Messaging Protocol" (PDF) (Whitepaper). Wickr Inc. 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  17. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (August 18, 2017). "WICKR'S CORE CRYPTO GOES PUBLIC". medium.com.
  18. ^ Collier, Kevin (September 8, 2017). "Email Was The Soft Underbelly Of The Democratic Campaign. It Still Will Be". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  19. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (August 18, 2017). "WICKR'S CORE CRYPTO GOES PUBLIC". medium.com.
  20. ^ Greenberg, Andy (December 6, 2016). "This App Wants to Be Your Encrypted, Self-Destructing Slack". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  21. ^ Conger, Kate (February 15, 2017). "Encrypted chat app Wickr opens code for public review". TechCrunch.
  22. ^ Eddy, Max (February 15, 2017). "Wickr Releases Crypto Protocol on GitHub". PCMag.
  23. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (February 15, 2017). "Wickr's Core Crypto Goes Public". Wickr Blog.
  24. ^ Bracy, Jedidiah (July 14, 2017). "Wickr introduces secure group calling, video conferencing tool for the enterprise". IAPP. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  25. ^ "Secure communications service Wickr is rolling out new free features". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  26. ^ "Product Tiers". Wickr. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  27. ^ "Wickr Enterprise | Compliance-Ready, Scalable, and Secure". Wickr. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  28. ^ tweet_btn(), Thomas Claburn in San Francisco 23 Aug 2018 at 22:56. "Wickr gets slicker with fresh network tricker: Privacy-protecting domain fronting alternative emerges". www.theregister.co.uk. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  29. ^ Cox, Joseph; Maiberg, Emanuel (August 23, 2018). "After Google and Amazon Drop Anti-Censorship Support, Wickr Steps In". Motherboard. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  30. ^ "Teams & Enterprises can now sign on with a single click on Wickr Pro". Wickr. June 7, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  31. ^ "Product Tiers". Wickr. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  32. ^ "Wickr Enterprise | Compliance-Ready, Scalable, and Secure". Wickr. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  33. ^ https://wickr.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/misc/WickrIO.pdf
  34. ^ "Partners". Wickr. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  35. ^ Fried, Ina (March 3, 2014). "Wickr secures $9 million to fund its privacy-focused messaging service". Recode.
  36. ^ Finkle, Jim (June 26, 2014). "Wickr raises $30 million; investors include CME Group, Wargaming". Reuters.
  37. ^ "2017 Who Has Your Back Report". The Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  38. ^ "Who Has Your Back". The Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved September 26, 2017.

External links[edit]