By Joel Wallenstrom, Wickr CEO
Today, we are announcing the industry’s first end-to-end encrypted screen sharing solution with perfect forward secrecy for teams on Wickr Pro and their contacts on Wickr Me. This is a significant step forward for secure collaboration among teams to allow for real-time information sharing and high-stakes decision making.
So much of every organization’s operations happen in virtual conference rooms, including high-target pricing negotiations, incident response triage, and due diligence discussions. Until now, companies had no choice in protecting these conversations. Our goal was to extend privacy to all aspects of business collaboration, making screen sharing as easy and as secure as possible.
Digital collaboration is taking over the workplace; the majority of teams and enterprises take video conference meetings multiple times a day, yet privacy and security have not been a priority for mainstream communications tools. As a consequence, video conferencing and screen sharing are often a window into the world’s most important boardrooms, R&D labs, government agencies, political campaigns, most high-profile security incidents, and business negotiations.
Joël Alwen, Cryptographer at Wickr: “The team is excited to see modern cryptography being used on personal devices to enable truly private and ephemeral real-time collaboration. Wickr’s screen sharing mirrors the security of a face-to-face meeting you would have with colleagues convened in a private room.”
Communications are among the top targets for attackers looking to gain unauthorized access to businesses and government systems. It’s for this reason Wickr built the next generation of workplace collaboration tools that allow for mathematically assured privacy and security. Users participating in a conference call can now share information in real time and work together on documents, whiteboards, prototypes, and multimedia without a need to track changes and share files before everyone’s input is taken.
Teams within one organization can now collaborate with partners at another company without compromising on security or choosing between the powerful privacy benefits of a forward secret end-to-end encrypted connection and the convenience of digital collaboration.
With the release of the Wickr Pro platform earlier this year, our focus has been on bringing calling and video conferencing to secure rooms where teams already collaborate. When a call comes in – whether 1:1 or in a group – all Pro users need to do is answer the call within their private network and start screen sharing, knowing exactly who they are talking to. No longer do users need to share dial-in links that can be forwarded to 3rd parties, nor do they 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’s screen sharing represents a new wave of crypto development that enables the same level of security for multi-party collaboration as is available for messaging and file transfers.
Tom Leavy, VP of Engineering at Wickr: “By using our messaging protocol to securely establish keys and our unique video conferencing protocol to securely transfer screen sharing data in real time, we believe we have created something that is new and extremely valuable to our users."
The screen sharing feature is designed to accomplish the following:
- End-to-end encrypted video connection between participants where keys are negotiated using Wickr’s messaging protocol to enable 256-bit security.
- Forward security where audio and screen sharing streams are encrypted with different keys, which then ratchet every 512 packets enabling the level of protection against MiTM that, as of today, is unique for groups.
- Security-wise, this means that Wickr offers communications consistency guarantee preventing potential MiTM attack where one stream is uploaded to one participant in a group conversation, and a different stream to another.
- Optimization: just like with messaging, end-to-end encrypted streams are uploaded to the server once, downloaded n-1 times. This asymmetry in upload vs. download bandwidth mirrors the asymmetry in bandwidths provided by most internet endpoints (e.g. cable modems, ADSL, 3g, 4g, etc.).
Tom Leavy, VP of engineering at Wickr: “Wickr optimizes the bandwidth of the call by allowing you to upload only one stream for many parties. While other VoIP solutions either encrypt and blind-forward traffic or don't encrypt and manipulate traffic, Wickr’s calling enables greater flexibility and security. As such, we can do things like drop video frames for a user in low-bandwidth conditions without breaking end-to-end encryption.”
Secure screen sharing is available to all Wickr Pro users and their contacts on our free private messenger, Wickr Me. As always, we welcome feedback from various networks, geographies and devices: firstname.lastname@example.org.