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[liberationtech] Wickr - Leave No Trace

Nathan of Guardian nathan at guardianproject.info
Thu Jun 28 06:28:13 PDT 2012


On 06/28/2012 04:58 AM, ilf wrote:
> Opinions on this? Has there been any peer-review?

Not as far as I know, but I think can tackle it quickly here from what
is on their website. Most of this is the usual open-vs-closed type
issues, but still important to reiterate.

I have also cc'd their privacy@ address so they can join the libtech
list and respond if they choose. I should also disclose my well-known
bias towards open source and open standards.

PROS
- it is free (as in free cheese samples at the grocery store)
- they have some sense of user-oriented design/threat model design
- their claimed data retention / privacy policies seem ideal
- the claim that centrally stored data is minimal
- it comes with all that proclaimed "easy to use" and "just works"
attitude that is part of the Apple iOS world; from screenshots, it looks
simple enough to use
- better than an unencrypted SMS!

CONS
- closed-source, no ability to publicly audit without some sort of NDA
- includes "patent-pending technology" aka proprietary, encumbered, not
an open/known standard
- limited to distribution where Apple and partner countries allow it
- only works on iOS
- no perfect-forward secrecy, it seems, meaning any encrypted on a
remote device, can easily be tied back to your wickr ID and/or your
cryptographic key
- no information about client-to-server connection (SSL, TLS? resistant
to man-in-the-middle attacks?)
- centralized service with no option of hosting your own
- "Activist" is not one of their user stories/types that they have
designed around, though they claim "freedom fighters" are among their
existing users
- based on their "third parties" policy, it seems their system design is
susceptible to lawful intercept

Would I recommend it? Probably not, but I am curious to see what sort of
mainstream uptake they might get, much in the same way I am curious
about SilentCircle.com, which is offering a very similar set of promises
as Wickr.

Best,
 Nathan






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