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Self-destructing chat app Wickr uses cat pics to hide photos in plain sight

Self-destructing chat app Wickr uses cat pics to hide photos in plain sight
Devindra Hardawar
Devindra Hardawar|@devindra|January 27, 2015 9:15 AM

Doing its part to contribute to the feline takeover of the internet, the secure chat app Wickr is now relying on adorable kitties to protect your private photo posts. The company is pulling the wraps off a new self-destructing photo feed feature for iPhone users today -- dubbed "Wickr Timed Feed" -- which lets you share photos with up to 151 friends securely on its app for 24 hours. But what makes it truly unique is that you'll also be able to link to those photos on Facebook under the guise of cat pics. Yup, it's steganography via kitty. Your friends on Wickr browsing your Facebook feed will be able to click through those photos and find their way to your private post on the service, while everyone else will just see random cats. It's not exactly perfect security -- your non-Wickr friends will probably start wondering why you've gone a bit cat crazy -- but it's a unique way for a small app like Wickr to take advantage of Facebook's social media dominance.

Wickr is one of many young chat apps, like FireChat, focusing on secure messaging. The company says it keeps your chats completely anonymous (it doesn't track any metadata), it heavily encrypts everything, and it also lets you maintain ownership of everything you share. It also lets you set specific expiration times for your messages, which gives you more control than something like Snapchat.

"Our main mission is to create the private web," founder and CEO Nico Sell told us. "I think Facebook has done a good job of creating the public web, but that's only one half of it." But she added Wickr also plans to move more into the public realm eventually, it just won't be the company's main focus.

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Self-destructing chat app Wickr uses cat pics to hide photos in plain sight