Ask Andy: Wickr privacy app

Ask Andy: Wickr privacy app
Published: Dec. 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2012 at 6:10 PM CST
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(WMC TV) - I just downloaded a free app for my iPhone that enables you to have ironclad, secure text conversations and e-mails, as well as share pictures and video with select contacts without worrying about someone cherry-picking them.

The app is Wickr.

It lets you decide who receives your texts, e-mails and media -- and for how long.

You program how long you want that communication to last, then Wickr will automatically delete that message or media forever.

"Wickr works with text messages, pictures, audio, and video," said Atlanta-based consumer advocate Clark Howard. "It also erases deleted files for good so they can't be retrieved by hackers or even by data forensic experts."

One of my data security experts praised Wickr's 'Secure File Shredder' and 'self-destruction' functions.

"Only the intended recipient can read the message, and it 'self destructs' after a specified period of time," said Jeff Horton of One Point Solutions Group, LLC., in Germantown, TN. "It is encrypted so you would not be able to download the messages to a computer later, and it would protect you from the possibility of records being subpoenaed from carriers."

James Ruffer III, a Memphis-based ethical hacker who consults businesses on the security of their online systems, said Wickr provides great encryption, but it is not fool-proof.

"You can still take a screen shot or lose the password to a key logger," Ruffer cautioned. "It also lacks anti-phishing and two-factor authentication options." That means Wickr's missing a secondary security measure, like a security question or picture only you can verify.

Wickr works best when the person you're communicating with has it, too. It's only available for the iPhone, but Howard said its developers are producing a version for the Android.

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