Most of us would remember that voice in Mission: Impossible that warned how a particular message would “self destruct in 5 seconds”. The concept, that was extremely intriguing at the time, can now be experienced by iPhone users, thanks to Wickr. In this era of cell phone tracking where the threat of iPhone spyware looms over every single iPhone, users need to be on their toes constantly. And accordingly the Wickr Security app has conjured up an innovative security mechanism.
Wickr is a free app that has been made available recently at the Apple’s App store. It encrypts the mode of communication, and in turn allows the users to be anonymous. The senders of messages would now have control over who gets to read the messages that they send, where their messages are read and most intriguingly how long would the message stay in the recipient’s inbox before it’s permanently deleted. The message or the photo can be instructed to self-destructed after a set time, which can be anything ranging from one second to five days.
As things stand, when particular data is deleted by the users, it still remains in a transformed state on the phones. The data continues to reside on the internal memory of the phone or indeed on the company’s server. The company can conveniently sell it to various advertisers that are willing to splash the cash, and is under no legal – or other – obligation to guard its security. So yes, it isn’t merely iPhone spyware that should haunt the Apple aficionada, the fact that their “deleted” data can also be accessed should also be a cause of apprehension.
Robert Statica, a professor at NJIT and Wickr’s cofounder, has narrated the tale of his students as to how his students purchased smart phones through eBay and found retrievable sensitive communications on the hard drive – this despite the data having been deleted by the original users. The data retrieved included credit card and bank statements, which could easily have been manipulated had it fallen into wrong hands. Basically, it’s like how computer hard disks work – when one deletes a file, it isn’t actually completely removed from the system.
While normally deleted data would be recovered, Wickr uses technology that ensured that the messages cannot be recovered after they self-destruct. And this applies to everyone who vies to extract this data; even the law enforcement authorities that could otherwise use subpoenas to arm twist their way into acquiring information. So anyone who is concerned about their confidential information being accessed by someone who shouldn’t be any way near the proximity of the data, can ensure that everything is erased via the Wickr security app.
Whether you want to hide your data from the police’s cell phone tracking, or from advertising companies’ meddling spying, Wickr Security app ensures the safety of your data. The only oddball that can be thrown at you is if the recipient takes the message’s screen shot and manages to store the info before the self-destruction. But the probability of that happening is negligible, especially if the time set for self-destruction isn’t long.