Twitter Acquires Android Security Startup Whisper Systems

Twitter has recently acquired Whisper Systems, a mobile security and privacy company that specializes in Android security and is still in its beta stage.

Whisper Systems provides security and management solutions that transform consumer phones and tablets into enterprise-ready devices.

android-whisper-systems The driving factor for Whisper Systems’ work with security, was their dissatisfaction with the state of mobile security. This led them to modify the entire Android stack and include security features at different layers. After rigorous fine-tuning, they came up with a modified Android kernel and called it the  Whisper Core. Whisper Core was the same Android kernel, but with an enterprise-level security. Some of the enterprise security features in Whisper Core were:

  • Full disk encryption, SD card encryption and smudge resistant unlock patterns
  • Network security though a firewall
  • Encrypted backup to the cloud
  • Selective app permissions
  • An SDK for developers

This was enough to impress Twitter. Now, Whisper Systems will undergo a transition, during which their systems will go offline. Whisper Systems announced their acquisition, saying,

We started Whisper Systems with the goal of improving security and privacy for mobile devices. We were attracted to this not only because we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent the security solutions that never really worked in the PC environment to begin with, but also because the stakes are much higher — due to the nature of mobile devices themselves — and we didn’t like the way that things were looking.

We ended up tackling the full stack — all the way from application-level solutions at the top of the stack, down through a  hardened version of Android, to  kernel modifications  at the bottom of the stack. Along the way, we learned a lot, and developed products that we are proud of.

Now that we have been acquired by  Twitter, we are looking forward to integrating our technology and our expertise into Twitter’s products and services.

With the acquisition of Whisper Systems, Twitter has also acquired security related IP on Android. This will help Twitter create a secure system for its users by integrating security in the Android system itself and minimizing intervention from the user. The Whisper Systems team will start working with Twitter soon.

(Via: @babelsquirrel)

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.