Joel Wallenstrom, Wickr CEO
July 13, 2017
Today, we are releasing our beta end-to-end encrypted calling and video conferencing for select Wickr Pro Networks. This is a significant step forward for secure collaboration among teams sharing valuable information and making high-stakes decisions, including incident response or sensitive business negotiations like mergers and acquisitions.
Joël Alwen, Cryptographer at Wickr: “For the first time we no longer have to choose between the powerful security and privacy benefits of forward secret end-to-end encryption and the convenience of conference calling.”
While one-on-one encrypted calling is offered by a few messaging apps, Wickr is the only platform enabling secure group conferencing with perfect forward secrecy between federated private networks. If your company has its own Wickr Pro Network, you can now launch conference calls while keeping control over your privacy.
Our focus is to bring calling and video conferencing to secure rooms on Wickr Pro where teams have established circles of trusted parties and already collaborate. When a call comes in — whether 1:1 or in a secure room — all Pro users need to do is answer the call within their private network, knowing exactly who they are talking to. No longer do you need to share dial-in links that can be forwarded to 3rd parties, nor do you have to rely on insufficiently secure apps.
Built on Wickr’s messaging protocol — open for public review on GitHub and vetted by independent security researchers — Wickr calling represents a new wave of crypto development that enables the same level of security for multi-party calls as is available for messaging and file transfers (Wickr Pro users can share e2e encrypted files up to 5 GB).
Tom Leavy, VP of Engineering at Wickr: “By using our messaging protocol to securely establish keys and our unique video conferencing protocol to manage the streams of data on user devices, we believe we have created something that is new and extremely valuable to our users”
Joël Alwen, Cryptographer at Wickr: “A key benefit of Wickr’s approach to designing our VoIP technology from the ground up with conference calling in mind is that it has allowed us build a forward secure multiparty communication protocol while avoiding the need for (notoriously difficult) multiparty key agreement.”
To date, group calling has been the most challenging to implement to support end-to-end security — in part because 1) it requires higher bandwidth and thus investment in infrastructure, 2) encryption traditionally poses some questions around the use of the server when you need to make video streams smaller, and 3) libraries that are most often used to enable VoiP don’t generally support groups.
It has been important for us to build reliable collaboration infrastructure specifically designed for multi-party calls powered by Wickr’s messaging protocol simply because more and more high-target information is shared in group communications, not only in one-on-one conversations.
We will be rolling out support for video conferencing in stages to collect feedback from various networks, geographies and devices. Please reach out if your network is interested in trying out beta conference calling: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our users interested in more details on the protocol design, we will be releasing a white paper in the coming weeks. The source code for the crypto protocol that secures call streams is available on GitHub for independent review.
Read on Wickr’s stance on transparency and our efforts to protect user privacy in the latest EFF Who Has Your Back Report here.