With the rise of smartphones, personal data and communications have become much less secure as compared to the good old days when dumb-phones ruled the planet. Most of the apps you download on your iPhone require access to your location, phonebook or some other form of data on your device. In addition to that, there are many ways of intercepting your text messages, or there’s always the possibility that someone might just pick up your phone and start going through your private messaging threads. If you are really serious about protecting your privacy, then chances are that a simple passcode is not enough to keep you satisfied. You need something like Wickr. Wickr is an iOS app that protects text messages with military-grade encryption. That’s not all there is to it, though. The app also offers timed self-destruct for text messages, anonymity and forensic cleaning for your iDevice, and automatic removal of all metadata from photos or other media files that you share through the app. Needless to say, it is definitely one of the best apps of its kind that we have come across as of yet.
Before you can enjoy all the goodies offered by the Wickr app, you will have to create a new app-specific account. Doing so requires none of your personal data; you just have to specify a username and password. Admittedly, the app takes a few minutes to sign you up. According to the developer, that is due to all the security measures taken to ensure your anonymity.
There are two privacy (or rather, message filtering) modes in Wickr. You can either blacklist all contacts, while allowing only a handful to communicate with you, or block certain contacts and allow messages from the rest to come through. To manage both the blacklist and whitelist, hit the respective tab followed by the Add User button.
Pairing will be made available in future updates of the app. Using this mode, you will be able to use the same account on multiple iDevices, and the sender will have the option to choose the device to which they want to send the message.
This is another feature that is expected to be released soon. Recovery services will allow you to recover your account whenever your phone is misplaced or you shift to a new iDevice.
From the Settings menu, you can choose the time after which messages will self-destruct (be deleted). Sent texts are even deleted from the recipient’s device. The same menu lets you choose the level of encryption you want. Anti-Forensics clean up your iPhone, and make sure that no app is tracking you without your knowledge.
A huge limitation in Wickr is that the messages you send can only be to other Wickr users, but if most of your friends are on iOS, this isn’t too bad. Also, the app is expected to be released for Android pretty soon.