Amazon buys encrypted messaging platform Wickr

Amazon’s cloud computing business has taken over an encrypted communications platform in the United States that is popular with government and military agencies, citing the demand for more secure messaging in the era of working from home.

Wickr offers encrypted messages, audio and video calls, and file sharing. Amazon Web Services not revealed The price you were paying for the business.

“Today, public sector customers use Wickr for a variety of tasks, from secure communication with office-based employees to providing service members at the tactical edge with encrypted communications,” said Stephen Schmidt, AWS Chief Information Security Officer.

“Enterprise customers use Wickr to maintain the privacy of communications between employees and business partners, while maintaining their compliance with regulatory requirements.”

He added that the demand for secure communications is “accelerating” as people increasingly turn toward so-called hybrid work, with time split between home and office – a change that has opened up. New opportunities for pirates.

Wickr was founded in 2012, and is headquartered in San Francisco upload A total of $73 million over four funding rounds, the last of which was in December 2018, according to Crunchbase.

AWS continues to be a growing part of the Amazon business, accounting for $4.2 billion in operating income last quarter — nearly half of the group’s total. Some of its biggest contracts come from governments around the world.

Amazon is locked in range legal battle With Microsoft over a $10 billion contract to provide cloud computing services to the US Department of Defense, the so-called Jedi Contract.

According to the Wickr website, remote work services meet the security standards recommended by the National Security Agency for federal agencies.

The need for ultra-secure government messaging was highlighted at the end of last year when appeared That Russian spies made their way into the email systems of several government agencies as part of the SolarWinds hack.

“I suspect [Amazon] “You want to gain credibility in the encrypted cloud space,” said Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy researcher and former chief technical officer at the Federal Trade Commission. He added that the acquisition brings crypto expertise to AWS.

The acquisition comes at a time when complaints are growing that big tech companies are bowing to requests from national governments to share data on customers — which has fueled the popularity of smaller stand-alone encrypted messaging services, such as the nonprofit Signal.

“The question is how do they balance the need to offer robust end-to-end encrypted messaging products with the need to comply with law enforcement needs, particularly at a time when we are seeing more aggressive stances from our international partners, and not only, but our own Department of Justice,” Soltani said. .

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