Amazon buys Wickr, a secure messaging platform even the NSA likes

Amazon has acquired Wickr, with the encrypted communications platform being rolled into AWS. Billing itself as "the world's most secure collaboration platform," Wickr offers not only text messaging but encrypted voice and video calling, along with file sharing, and has proved a popular option among both enterprise and government agencies, along with journalists and other users.

The company offers both free and paid plans, the former limited to up to 10 registered users. At its most basic, there are encrypted file transfers, secure screen sharing, and secured voice and video calls for groups of up to 70 participants.

Paid plans, meanwhile, include support for larger file transfers, two-factor authentication, unlimited users, and more. Regardless of plan, however, Wickr promises 256-bit authenticated end-to-end encryption, features such as client network traffic obfuscation, and regular independent code review.

With the pandemic and the shift to hybrid work, businesses are facing the challenge of securely dealing with teams that can no longer count on all workers being in the same physical location. We've seen Microsoft Teams and other platforms embrace that with enhanced security along with new video calling and other collaboration features, while Amazon has pushed its own Chime platform along with partnering with Slack. Now, it has a high-profile security platform it can potentially integrate with that.

"We are pleased to share that Wickr has been acquired by Amazon and is now part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team," Wickr announced today. "We're proud to have created highly trusted, secure communication solutions for messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and more. From our founding ten years ago, we have grown to serve organizations across a wide range of industries, all over the world. Together with AWS, we look forward to taking our solutions to the next level for our customers and partners."

For the moment, there's no sign of Wickr's plans changing. Amazon has confirmed the acquisition – terms of which have not been shared – but still points potential users to the company's site in order to sign up.

"With Wickr, customers and partners benefit from advanced security features not available with traditional communications services – across messaging, voice and video calling, file sharing, and collaboration," Stephen Schmidt, VP and Chief Information Security Officer for AWS, said today in a statement. "This gives security conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements."

An assessment by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in November 2020 found that Wickr was the only secure collaboration platform tested – including Amazon Chime – to satisfy all of the agency's criteria around encryption, secure deletion, and more. Currently Wickr counts the Department of Defense (DoD) and the DSCC among others as partners and customers.