Product Feature: Wickr Open Access

Enterprises are increasingly adopting encrypted collaboration apps such as Wickr to communicate internally and with clients. With email causing so many security concerns, many companies have stopped using email as their default communication tool. The ease and security of an end-to-end encrypted communication app combines privacy and usability so that everyone in the company can collaborate easily and efficiently.

While these apps are vital to the workplace, you may have come across a problem if you work with people stationed across the world: some countries don’t allow — or heavily restrict — encrypted apps. While in these countries, you still need to communicate with your team, but you also need to ensure that the data can remain secure against restricted or monitored networks.

This is why Wickr partnered with Psiphon to create Wickr Open Access, a global and secure open access capability. This technology creates the opportunity to communicate freely, regardless of the network stability in your environment.

How Wickr Open Access Works

Wickr Open Access (WOA) will connect to a series of global proxy servers to enable the best path for your data to securely get where it needs to go. Wickr uses thousands of servers across the globe to provide uninterrupted and end-to-end encrypted messages, phone calls, video conferencing, and more. And because of its encryption, if anyone other than the end-users were to intercept the message, they couldn’t read it — not even Wickr.

Wicker Open Access can be enabled or disabled based on your preference. When you launch WOA on your device, you will initiate connections with up to 10 different randomly-chosen servers, employing a mix of protocols. This enables your encrypted communications to be sent securely and reliably, amidst the harshest environments.

Why Wickr Open Access is Remarkable

Michael Hull, President of Psiphon, summed it up very well, “The new Wickr(R) Open Access feature relies on multiple techniques and thousands of servers across the world. Think of it as a “smart VPN” that relies on an agile and smart access engine that optimizes the Wickr app to keep the best connection among many servers launched at once, as opposed to relying on a single domain front.”

The benefit of connecting to so many servers is that WOA can minimize wait times in case a server is blocked. WOA is also designed to pick the closest and most reliable connection by your location. 

“To accomplish what Wickr Secure Open Access does, a user would have to run a few dozens of VPNs,” said Chris LaLonde, Wickr COO. “With Wickr, they can now stay connected and continue to do work on any network, all in one app, on any device, by just enabling Secure Open Access feature.”

How Do I Enable Wickr Open Access?

Open your Wickr app and go to the Wickr Menu. Then enter the Settings and select Connectivity. There, you will see an option to Enable Wickr Open Access. You may notice that once you enable WOA, TCP calling can no longer be changed. This is because Wickr Open Access uses TCP by default.

An administrator of the network has to enable this WOA feature in the admin console. Once they do that, users of the network can turn WOA on and off accordingly.

Wondering if the country you are working in has restrictive networks? Use this tool to see encryption policies across the world. For more information about how to use Wickr Open Access, visit our FAQ. To sum up:

  • The Wickr Open Access feature’s goal is to hide your connections to Wickr services. It’s more of a masquerading technique that provides anti-censorship/anti-blocking by making traffic look like it’s associated with certain ports & protocols that are not restricted. 
  • Depending on geography, Wickr Open Access will connect to a series of global proxy servers that offer the best path and protocols to use for user traffic/connection obfuscation.
  • An admin of a network would have to enable this WOA feature in the admin console. 
  • Once it’s enabled then users of this network can turn on/off accordingly

AWS Wickr also incorporates the Wickr Open Access (WOA) “smart VPN” that provides remote workers with a secure connection and the same end-to-end encryption.