Tor Messenger: Private & Encrypted Instant Messaging

SpyHere is a private and encrypted instant messaging app that even James Bond or Jason Bourne would appreciate.

The Tor Project is well known for their work in bringing online privacy to the masses through their popular Tor web browser.

Now the famous privacy group has released Tor Messenger, a new instant messaging app that promises private and secret communications through Tor’s anonymous and encrypted network.

Tor Messenger is a an easy-to-use, no-nonsense messaging app that protects user privacy by encrypting the content in instant messages as well as making it hard for third parties to spy on and identify the people sending the messages.

Last week, the Tor Project made available their first beta release of Tor Messenger, which reportedly can be easily downloaded and installed in just five minutes.

At the present time, Tor Messenger is an IM app for desktop computers that encrypts messages by using Off-The-Record protocol and hides user IP addresses by routing the encrypted messages through Tor’s worldwide network of computers.

Tor Messenger is based on Mozilla’s instant messaging software, Instabird, and works effortlessly with a number of existing chat programs like Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter and Yahoo.

Kate Krauss, Tor’s public policy directory, claims that Messenger can hide you and your instant messages from domestic and foreign spy agencies as well as online marketers.

Krauss also noted that, since Tor Messenger works with several popular chat programs, users can start sending and receiving anonymous and encrypted messages to their existing list of contacts even if those contacts aren’t using Tor Messenger themselves.

The developers behind Tor Messenger claim that there is no trace of communications that are sent through their application. It’s like the messages never happened at all.

Time will tell if this claim holds up when real-world people start sending instant messages through Tor’s network. We have heard pie-in-the-sky promises like this before from software developers, only to find out later that there was an Achilles heel in the technology that left personal information and identities exposed.

Privacy on Tor Messenger has at least one major issue: it reveals your contact information with the servers that connect you to the person you are messaging. This could potentially reveal information that could expose your identity to a third party on the network.

Tor’s developers caution that the current beta release of Tor Messenger needs some serious security auditing and should only be used by people who are interested in testing the application and understand the security risks that come with it.

According to Wired Magazine, Tor Messenger has the potential to be a strong instant messaging application for surveillance-free communications online.

The Ars Technica blog says that the use of the Tor privacy network with Off-The-Record instant messaging is going to be a big boost for private electronic communications.

For more information on Tor Messenger as well as beta version downloads for Linux, Windows and Apple iOS, visit The Tor Project Messenger.