Amazon’s cloud computing company has acquired a popular U.S. encrypted communications platform between government and military agencies, citing the demand for more secure messaging in the era 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 paid for the business.
“Today, public sector customers use Wickr for a diverse range of missions, from communicating securely with office-based employees to providing service members on the tactical board with encrypted communications,” said Stephen Schmidt , head of information security for AWS.
“The company’s customers use Wickr to maintain communications between employees and private business partners, while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.”
He added that the demand for secure communications was “accelerated” as people moved more and more towards so-called hybrid work, with time split between home and office – a change that opened up new opportunities for pirates.
Founded in 2012, Wickr is headquartered in San Francisco resurrected a total of $ 73 million over four rounds of funding, the last in December 2018, according to Crunchbase.
AWS remains a growing part of Amazon’s business, accounting for $ 4.2 billion in operating income in the last quarter – nearly half of the group’s total. Some of their biggest contracts come from governments around the world.
Amazon is locked into one legal battle with Microsoft for a $ 10bn contract to provide cloud computing services to the U.S. Department of Defense, the so-called Jedi contract.
According to Wickr’s website, its telecommuting services meet the safety criteria recommended by the National Security Agency for federal agencies.
The government’s need for ultra-secure messaging was highlighted at the end of last year when it came out that Russian spies had dug their way into the email systems of several government agencies under the hacker SolarWinds.
“I suspect.” [Amazon] I want to gain credibility in the encrypted cloud space, “said Ashkan Soltani, independent privacy researcher and former chief technology officer of the Federal Trade Commission. The acquisition brings AWS expertise in cryptography, he added.
The acquisition comes at a time of growing complaint that large technology companies are bending over to requests from national governments to share data on customers – leading to a growth in the popularity of smaller independent encrypted messaging services, as a non-profit Signal.
“The question is how do we 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 where we see more aggressive stances from not only our own international partners, but our Department of Justice, ”Soltani said.