Tor Network Releases Encrypted, Anonymous Chat App

As privacy becomes a greater concern for tech users, the Tor Project is aiming to fill a need with an encrypted message client. The Tor Project said this week that it has released the beta version of Tor Messenger, which it calls an easy-to-use encrypted message client for people concerned about their privacy as well as the potential surveillance of their messages.

The client is being released to the general public for the first time. It is based on Instantbird, a messaging app that lets users connect to separate messenger systems. Organizers of the Tor Project said they picked Instantbird because its transport protocols are written in JavaScript.

JavaScript is considered a "memory safe" language, which means itEUs designed to avoid bugs that can compromise security. Instantbird had been missing off-the-record cryptographical protocol support, but Tor said it has included that feature, among others, in the beta version of Tor Messenger.

Anonymous and Simple

Tor Messenger supports several transport networks, including Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, and Yahoo, according to the Tor Project. It also offers what Tor calls an easy-to-use graphical user interface localized in several languages.

The Tor Project is a non-profit organization that runs the Tor network, a system of routers and servers designed to make it harder to track online users and easier to disguise Internet activity from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. It also lets users gain access to hidden areas of the Web hosted on .onion Web sites.

Tor is expecting that the clientEUs easy-to-use chat interface will accomplish two goals: keeping all of its anti-surveillance protocols out of sight; and removing the complexity usually associated with setting up and using anonymizing services.

"Tor Messenger builds on the networks you are familiar with, so that you can continue communicating in a way your...

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