back to article Put WhatsApp, Slack, admin privileges in a blender and what do you get? Wickr

It's an issue every sysadmin faces: how do you maintain a decent level of network security when everyone and their dog wants to use the latest messaging app or collaboration tool? And when they inevitably do add WhatsApp and Signal and Slack and Telegram to their devices and set up their own project spaces, placing …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Wickr looks like a perfect solution: secure, automatic message deletion, easy to setup...'

    I like this product. Its taken years since Snowden / Schrems to even bring about useful conversations about Privacy and the many business benefits. Signal has pointed the way forward and Telegram too despite the closed-source flaws. So having other choices that are open-source is a good thing. Who loves the US tech industry for burying the 'ugly truth', to the point the 'cancer' couldn't be contained anymore: FB-CA-Palantir etc.

    But I have question... In business they say its all about location, location, location... Everything seems perfect about the product, but what about the location? Seems to be infinite demand for all these wonder-boy SF start-ups. Infinite willing investors for now at least. But we know US Govt Inc will interfere, and Dr Evil 'sell us your slurp' will come calling soon too.

    Plus, could there be a recession around the corner? Economists can't agree. Could there be backlash against Silly 'con' Valley from all the daily news of privacy abuses? No one is sure. Could there be a backlash against America overall in general because of the likes of POTUS etc. Who knows, but there is definitely fear in the air. So Wickr, why not relocate elsewhere? Keep the product, just don't host it in USA-Inc!

    I don't subscribe or buy American products or services whenever possible anymore. That kind of trust has long left the building! Plus the situation has only gotten worse. But you know what, I lament the American glory days, from the Space-Race to the early non-dystopian years of tech. It seems that the likes of Musk (SpaceX) and Sweeney (Fortnite fame) are the only ones keeping the lights on anymore... And guess what, neither of them are into the 'Surveillance-Economy'. Go figure! Just like the US old-school days which made America great, they both make real products!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Wickr looks like a perfect solution: secure, automatic message deletion, easy to setup...'

      Take a look at Threema Work.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Admin tool, or worse?

    It may be sold as an admin tool, but Wickr and similar will eventually enable the PHBs to include "must possess suitable computing device" as an essential job requirement. Think of all the money the company can save if it never has to replace, or buy, computers ever again.

    (I've already seen it happen where the sales crew was "kindly" asked to connect their personal cell numbers to corporate Google Voice accounts. Saved having to issue corporate cell phones, and the Twilio subscriptions could be scrapped.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two small steps

    to an unfortunate name.

    Wickr .. Winkr ... Wankr

    1. BinkyTheHorse

      Re: Two small steps

      Not only that, if you replace a few more letters, you get "Satan"!

    2. Paul Kinsler Silver badge

      Re: an unfortunate name.

      ... but the really big downer using with Wickr is their vendor lock in and penalty clauses, man. :-)

    3. Locky

      Re: Two small steps

      I was thinking Wickr Man, and you are Edward Woodward in this scenario

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Winkr Watson

      Personally, my first thought on seeing the name was "I can't believe that cliched 'replacing-the-final-er-with-an-r' website naming trend is *still* a thing...!"

  5. Charles 9 Silver badge

    "To his credit, Wallenstrom notes, unprompted, that if Wickr is served with a notice forcing it to introduce a backdoor, it will likely also include the requirement that he is not allowed to talk about it."

    I'm surprised the topic of warrant canaries over this subject wasn't discussed in the interview, especially since the US has specific case law that would render a "compulsion to lie" subject to challenge on First Amendment grounds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That hasn't been tested in case law, so far as I know. Pretty damned hard to know what with the FISA Court. Publishing their code certainly moves them firmly to the top of the list though, provided good code quality.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Not specifically, but there are precedents. WV BoE v. Barnette established a public institution (a school here) cannot compel someone to speak against his/her conscience as it violated the First Amendment (it concerned the Pledge of Allegience, a US government procedure). Wooley v. Maynard ruled a resident of New Hampshire cannot be punished for concealing a government motto due to not believing in it (in this case, New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die"--as a Jehova's Witness, Maynard protested on First Amendment Grounds that under his belief, life, even under slavery, is preferable to death, meaning the state motto went against his religion). Meanwhile, New York Times Co. v. United States used the First Amendment again (Freedom of the Press) to justify the NYT's publishing of the Pentagon Papers (that ultimately led to Nixon's resignation) against the wishes of the Nixon administration. The first two blocked government compulsion to speak against one's mind. A compulsion to lie can easily be fitted into this. Meanwhile, the latter shows even the White House can be reined in.

  6. Crypto Monad

    Obligatory XKCDs

    Two which are particularly relevant:

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    200 paying customers?

    Sounds like you can't do anything without VC money. El Reg covered Wickr some years back but the market has moved on since then. There is now a choice of secure messengers: Signal, Wire, Threema, etc., with Signal and Wire being open source.

    But for enterprises there is still BlackBerry, which has the advantage of established user base and toolset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 200 paying customers?

      I agree, the industry *has* moved on from simple e2e secure communication. One major new differentiator is if a product is targeted at consumers or at organizations.

      While Wickr and Wire (also) target orgs. the (large) majority of other e2e comms systems target only consumers. E.g. Signal, Threema, Whatsapp, Viber, etc. None of the consumer products (e.g. Signal & Threema) provide any kind of Enterprise features nor administrative controls. Wickr now offers all sorts of things in this domain such as single-sign-on integration, enterprise grade customer support, centralized on/off-boarding of users, legal compliance options, FIPS certification, on-prem back end deployment, admin defined: security policies, federation policies, and user, group and network segmentation and quite a bit more...

      To be fair there is really a pretty big difference by now between what Wickr does and what Signal & Threema do. While I'd recommend my mother use Signal I'd think my bank would be better served with Wickr. IMHO they just aren't the same *type* of product anymore.

  8. EnviableOne Silver badge

    not the only toy in the shop

    theres also other competing options that arent based where FISA warrants can get them

    e.g. Hospify

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