The communication application Wire, produced by former Skype, Apple and Microsoft employees and funded by Skype's co-founder Janus Friis, has received an update that introduces full end-to end encryption to the application.
Wire was one of the many communication applications that came to live after the Snowden revelations of global surveillance programs, but did not support end-to-end encryption back then.
The new version promises to encrypt chat, audio and video messages, the latter setting it apart from most comparable services.
The protocol used to implement the encryption for text messagesw and pictures is called Axolotl, and since it is open source, it is not only used by Wire but also by other "secure" communication applications like Signal or Silent Phone.
Voice and video calls on the other hand make use of WebRTC, and there DTLS for key negotiation and authentication, and SRTP for encrypted media transport.
If you compare Wire to Signal, you will notice several differences. Wire supports video chat, a desktop client, and multi-device support for end-to-end encryption which Signal does not support (multi-device is in Beta). Signal on the other hand is fully open source and discloses how it is making money (from user donations).
Wire is free as well, but the company has yet to reveal how it intends to finance development of the software.
Wire is provided as a desktop application for Windows, and as a web service. It requires that you create an account by providing Wire with an email address and password. You may give permissions to upload an address book to the service to gain access to your contacts when you are using the application, but is it not an requirement and usually not a good idea as you will provide the service with information about all contacts of the address book even those that don't use Wire and people you won't contact using the service.
The company operates from Switzerland, one of the most privacy friendly countries in the world.
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