Amazon has acquired the popular encrypted messaging platform Wickr. The retail giant didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. However, the company said the acquisition is meant for its cloud services arm Amazon Web Services (AWS).
AWS provides remote work solutions such as conversation platforms including voice and video, file sharing, and collaboration to companies and government organizations. Amazon wants to make those solutions more secure with Wickr’s services. AWS customers will get Wickr services “effective immediately,” said Stephen Schmidt, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer for AWS. Meanwhile, existing Wickr users will be able to continue using the platform as it is today.
Amazon acquires Wickr for an undisclosed amount
Founded in 2012, Wickr is one of the most secure messaging platforms on the planet. It offers several free as well as paid end-to-end encrypted messaging products based on different customer needs. Along with individual customers and enterprises, the company also offers its services to governments, Customs and Border Protection, military groups, and other prominent organizations. It claims to be the “only collaboration service with full functionality to meet all security criteria outlined by the National Security Agency.”
If you remember, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had started using Wickr after the high-profile Democratic National Committee hack back in July 2016. Journalists, as well as criminals, also reportedly use Wickr for secure communications.
Amazon is now looking to integrate the New York-based company’s expertise in secure communications into its AWS solutions. Schmidt notes that “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 himself has long experience in this space, having worked with the FBI for ten years.
Amazon might also be hoping this acquisition to help attract more contracts from governments and other significant organizations. Notably, the company recently lost a $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract to Microsoft. The US Department of Defense (DoD) said the contract will provide cloud storage, AI processing, machine learning, and other essential modern technologies to the US military.
Amazon has though taken the matter to court arguing that Microsoft’s contract has “clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias”. A federal judge has already issued a temporary injunction, so the contract will not begin immediately. It’s now unclear whether Amazon plans to continue fighting for the contract following the acquisition of Wickr. Perhaps it wants to strengthen its infrastructure to lure more contracts in the future.