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AWS Acquires Encrypted Communications Service Wickr

Amazon’s AWS subsidiary on Friday announced the acquisition of Wickr, a late-stage startup that sells end-to-end encrypted communications tools.

Financial terms of the transaction were not released. Prior to the acquisition, Wickr raised a total of $73 million over four rounds of venture capital funding.

Amazon announced the acquisition in a brief blog post that highlighted the importance of secure communications tools to the modern hybrid work environments.

According to VP and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Stephen Schmidt, AWS will be offering Wickr services effective immediately and Wickr customers, channel, and business partners can continue to use Wickr’s services as they do today.

The move could signal an early push by Amazon into the lucrative enterprise messaging space currently dominated by the likes of Slack, Microsoft Teams (0365) and Google Workspace.

“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. This gives security conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements,” Schmidt said.

He said public sector customers use Wickr for secure communications with office-based employees, or to provide service members at the tactical edge with encrypted communications. “Enterprise customers use Wickr to keep communications between employees and business partners private, while remaining compliant with regulatory requirements,” Schmidt said, explaining why AWS acquired the Wickr service.

“The need for this type of secure communications is accelerating. With the move to hybrid work environments, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises and government agencies have a growing desire to protect their communications across many remote locations,” he added.

Wickr was launched in 2012 as a New York-based startup providing an instant messaging app for encrypted communications. Over the years, the company shipped several secure messaging apps for business customers, including Wickr Pro, Wickr RAM, and Wickr Enterprise.

The company’s messaging apps allow users to exchange end-to-end encrypted and content-expiring messages, including photos, videos, and file attachments. The software is available for the iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

Related: Wickr Announces General Availability of Anti-Censorship Tool

Related: Wickr Partners with Psiphon to Improve Network Availability

Related: Surveillance Fears Drive Business Use of Secure Collaboration

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Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. Ryan is a veteran cybersecurity strategist who has built security engagement programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. He is a co-founder of Threatpost and the global SAS conference series. Ryan's past career as a security journalist included bylines at major technology publications including Ziff Davis eWEEK, CBS Interactive's ZDNet, PCMag and PC World. Ryan is a director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanaraine.