Are you a user who values his privacy a lot and has wished that your instant chat messages were more secure? The company, Tor has now answered your wish. It has launched a new chat tool which has raised the bar for online messaging apps.
The Tor Messenger hides the location of participants and allows users to chat over the Tor (The Onion Router) network. This means that the contents of messages will only be visible to the participants. The service will work even in countries where they are banned and will work with platforms like Facebook.
The Tor messenger can be used to chat via services like Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, Yahoo, Internet Relay Chat and Google Talk and users wishing to remain anonymous or access chat clients blocked in their own country could make use of it. The program communicates by sending messages across a series of internet relays so that their origin cannot be tracked. The relays are called "bridges". "They're computers run by volunteers and in a censored area your computer will connect to these," explained Steven Murdoch, a security researcher at University College London who has worked on Tor projects. "Those services are not publicly listed anywhere - they should not be blocked even if access to the Tor network is blocked."
Messages encryption is enabled by default, though both parties in a one-to-one chat would have to have the off-the-record encryption (OTR) set up. This requires the two parties to exchange a secret key which is needed to decode the messages they send to each other.
"At the end of the day some people really do need privacy and security so this would be important to them," commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.
The tool is currently in beta and will undergo security tests.