AWS launches AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin
AWS is excited to announce the launch of the AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin, which makes it easier for ATAK users to maintain secure communications.
The Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK)—also known as Android Tactical Assault Kit for military use—is a smartphone geospatial infrastructure and situational awareness application. It provides mapping, messaging, and geofencing capabilities to enable safe collaboration over geography.
ATAK users, referred to as operators, can view the location of other operators and potential hazards—a major advantage over relying on hand-held radio transmissions. While ATAK was initially designed for use in combat zones, the technology has been adapted to fit the missions of local, state, and federal agencies.
ATAK currently has over 400,000 US Department of Defense (DoD) operators—including members of the Air Force, Army, Special Operations, and National Guard—along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and 32,000 nonfederal operators.
Using AWS Wickr with ATAK
AWS Wickr is a secure collaboration service that provides enterprises and government agencies with advanced security and administrative controls to help them meet security and compliance requirements. The AWS Wickr service is now in preview.
With AWS Wickr, communication mechanisms such as one-to-one and group messaging, audio and video calling, screen sharing, and file sharing are protected with 256-bit end-to-end encryption (E2EE). Encryption takes place locally, on the endpoint. Every message, call, and file is encrypted with a new random key, and no one but the intended recipients can decrypt them. Flexible administrative features enable organizations to deploy at scale, and facilitate information governance.
AWS Wickr supports many agencies that use ATAK. However, until now, ATAK operators have had to leave the ATAK application in order to use AWS Wickr, which creates operational risk.
AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin
AWS Wickr has developed a plugin that enhances ATAK with secure communications features. ATAK operators are provided with a Wickr Enterprise or Wickr Pro account, so they can use AWS Wickr within ATAK for secure messaging, calling, and ﬁle transfer. This helps reduce interruptions, and the complexity of configuration with ATAK chat features.
The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin helps military units, law enforcement, and first responders make informed decisions through secure collaboration, and the ability to initiate communications by location.
The military uses ATAK for blue force tracking to locate team members, red force tracking to locate enemies, terrain and weather analysis, and to visually communicate their movements to friendly forces.
The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin enhances the ability of military personnel to maintain the situational awareness ATAK provides, while quickly receiving and reacting to Wickr communications. Ephemeral messaging options allow unit leaders to send mission plans, GPS points of interest, and set burn-on-read and expiration timers. Information can be deleted from the device, while being selectively logged to a customer-controlled data store to help meet compliance requirements, and facilitate the creation of after-action reports.
ATAK is a powerful tool for team tracking and mission planning that promotes a safer and better response to critical law enforcement and public-safety events.
The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin adds to the capabilities of ATAK by supporting secure communications between tactical, negotiation, and investigative teams.
ATAK aids in search-and-rescue and multi-jurisdictional natural disaster responses, such as hurricane relief.
The AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin provides secure, uninterrupted communication between all levels of first responders to help them get oriented quickly, and support complex coordination efforts without the need to gather contact information in advance.
AWS customers can sign up to use AWS Wickr at no cost during the preview period. For more information about the AWS Wickr ATAK Plugin, email email@example.com, and visit the AWS Wickr web page.
If you have feedback about this blog post, let us know in the Comments section below.
Want more AWS Security news? Follow us on Twitter.