Amazon shuts down Wickr Me encrypted messaging service; Enterprise services remain

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced late last week that it would discontinue its free Wickr Me encrypted messaging service, saying in a blog post that it plans to “refocus” on its related AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise products at the expense of customers. branch of the Wicker family.

Wickr has been in the works for over a decade, making it one of the first end-to-end encrypted messaging apps on the market. According to experts, Wickr Me has been popular with journalists and whistleblowers alike as a method of secure communication of sensitive information, but it has also allegedly been widely used as a medium for illicit content such as child sexual abuse and drug dealing. June reports from NBC News.

Amazon’s statement about Wickr Me’s pending shutdown doesn’t directly address those complaints, but it does emphasize a renewed focus on enterprise and government versions of the app. Wickr is a relatively recent acquisition by Amazon, starting life as a public-facing app in 2012 before being bought by Hyperscaler in the summer of 2021. Amazon, at the time, indicated that the purchase was aimed at improving security for many of its large organizational customers, who are increasingly threatened by hybrid work shifts.

“Public sector customers use Wickr for a variety of missions, from securely communicating with office-based employees to providing strategic edge services with encrypted communications,” Steve Schmidt, AWS vice president and CISO, said in a blog post at the time of the acquisition. . “Wickr’s secure communications solutions help enterprises and government agencies adapt to these changes in their workplaces and are a welcome addition to the growing collaboration and productivity services AWS offers customers and partners.”

Wickr Me is still working right now, but will stop accepting new users at the end of December. The platform itself will remain operational for a year after that, with Amazon planning to shut down the system entirely on December 31, 2023. The company said in its statement today that it will provide details “in the coming months” about the current ways users can store their data from the Wickr Me platform.

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