Amazon buys encrypted messaging platform Wickr

Amazon’s cloud computing business has acquired an American encrypted communications platform popular among government and military agencies, citing the demand for more secure messaging in the age of working from home.

Wickr offers end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice and video calls, and file sharing. Amazon Web Services did not disclose the price he was paying for the business.

“Today, public sector clients use Wickr for a wide range of missions, from secure communication with office workers to providing service members with state-of-the-art encrypted communications tactics,” said Stephen Schmidt , Director of Information Security for AWS.

“Corporate customers use Wickr to maintain the confidentiality of communications between employees and business partners, while remaining compliant with regulatory requirements. “

He added that the demand for secure communications is “accelerating” as people increasingly turn to so-called hybrid work, with time shared between home and office – a change that has begun. new opportunities for hackers.

Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Wickr has raised a total of $ 73 million over four funding rounds, the latest in December 2018, according to Crunchbase.

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

Amazon is locked in a legal battle with Microsoft on 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, its telecommuting services meet the security criteria recommended by the National Security Agency for federal agencies.

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

“I suspect [Amazon] want to gain credibility in the encrypted cloud space, ”said Ashkan Soltani, independent privacy researcher and former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission. The acquisition brings crypto expertise to AWS, he added.

The acquisition comes at a time of growing complaints that large tech companies are bowing to requests from national governments to share customer data, leading to an increase in the popularity of small messaging services. encrypted independent, such as Nonprofit Signal.

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

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