Twitter has bought a mobile communications security firm, Whisper Systems, specializing in hardening Android devices to make them more private and secure. Through modifying the core Android kernel, as well as developing custom apps for encrypted messaging, calling, backup and more, Whisper Systems has carved out a niche protecting smartphones and tablets for enterprise and other privacy-aware users.
Currently, the company offers five products, each Android based. RedPhone and TextSecure add encryption to voice and messaging, meaning even if either are intercepted the contents shouldn’t be accessible. Flashback makes system backups to the cloud, encrypting them first so that if the remote storage is hacked, user files can’t be accessed.
Finally, WhisperCore and WhisperMonitor work together to lock down devices and track their use, including “full disk encryption, network security tools, encrypted backup, selective permissions, and basic platform management tools for Nexus S and Nexus One phones.”
Terms of the deal have not been revealed publicly, and Twitter has not said exactly what it will do with the new security expertise it has acquired. However, it’s possible that the social network company might use Whisper Systems to create a hardened version of Twitter that could be positioned as an enterprise communication tool, similar perhaps to RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger but with a more group-centric focus.