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TOR Tor Messenger Beta: Chat over Tor, Easily

Discussion in 'TOR | TAILS' started by survivalmonkey, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. survivalmonkey

    survivalmonkey Monkey+++

    Today we are releasing a new, beta version of Tor Messenger, based on Instantbird, an instant messaging client developed in the Mozilla community.

    What is it?

    Tor Messenger is a cross-platform chat program that aims to be secure by default and sends all of its traffic over Tor. It supports a wide variety of transport networks, including Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, Yahoo, and others; enables Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging automatically; and has an easy-to-use graphical user interface localized into multiple languages.

    What it isn't...

    Tor Messenger builds on the networks you are familiar with, so that you can continue communicating in a way your contacts are willing and able to do. This has traditionally been in a client-server model, meaning that your metadata (specifically the relationships between contacts) can be logged by the server. However, your route to the server will be hidden because you are communicating over Tor.

    We are also excited about systems like Pond and Ricochet, which try to solve this problem, and would encourage you to look at their designs and use them too.

    Why Instantbird?

    We considered a number of messenging clients: Pidgin, agl's xmpp-client, and Instantbird. Instantbird was the pragmatic choice -- its transport protocols are written in a memory-safe language (JavaScript); it has a graphical user interface and already supports many natural languages; and it's a XUL application, which means we can leverage both the code (Tor Launcher) and in-house expertise that the Tor Project has developed working on Tor Browser with Firefox. It also has an active and vibrant software developer community that has been very responsive and understanding of our needs. The main feature it lacked was OTR support, which we have implemented and hope to upstream to the main Instantbird repository for the benefit of all Instantbird (and Thunderbird) users.

    Current Status

    Today we are releasing a beta version with which we hope to gain both usability and security related feedback. There have been three previous alpha releases to the mailing lists that have already helped smooth out some of the rougher edges.


    Linux (32-bit)

    Linux (64-bit)


    OS X


    The sha256sums.txt file containing hashes of the bundles is signed with the key 0x6887935AB297B391 (fingerprint: 3A0B 3D84 3708 9613 6B84 5E82 6887 935A B297 B391).


    • On Linux, extract the bundle(s) and then run: ./start-tor-messenger.desktop
    • On OS X, copy the Tor Messenger application from the disk image to your local disk before running it.

      On all platforms, Tor Messenger sets the profile folder for Firefox/Instantbird to the installation directory.
    • Note that as a policy, unencrypted one-to-one conversations are not allowed and your messages will not be transmitted if the person you are talking with does not have an OTR-enabled client. You can disable this option in the preferences to allow unencrypted communication but doing so is not recommended.
    Source Code

    We are doing automated builds of Tor Messenger for all platforms.

    The Linux builds are reproducible: anyone who builds Tor Messenger for Linux should have byte-for-byte identical binaries compared with other builds from a given source. You can build it yourself and let us know if you encounter any problems or cannot match our build. The Windows and OS X builds are not completely reproducible yet but we are working on it.

    What's to Come

    Our current focus is security, robustness and user experience. We will be fixing bugs and releasing updates as appropriate, and in the future, we plan on pairing releases with Mozilla's Extended Support Release (ESR) cycle. We have some ideas on where to take Tor Messenger but we would like to hear what you have to say. Some possibilities include:

    • Secure multi-party communication (np1sec)
    • Encrypted file-transfers
    • Usability study
    How To Help

    Give it a try and provide feedback, requests, and file bugs (choose the "Tor Messenger" component). If you are a developer, help us close all our tickets or help us review our design doc. As always, we are idling on IRC in #tor-dev (OFTC) (nicks: arlolra; boklm; sukhe) and subscribed to the tor-talk/dev mailing lists.

    Please note that this release is for users who would like to help us with testing the product but at the same time who also understand the risks involved in using beta software.

    Thanks and we hope you enjoy Tor Messenger!

    Continue reading...
    Ganado likes this.
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