Tor Messenger

So as you may know the Tor project finally released their new Messenger into Beta the other day.

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-messenger-beta-chat-over-tor-easily

I wanted to play with this and see how usable it is and what it can do. So firstly I accessed the site and downloaded the version to run on my MacBook.

https://dist.torproject.org/tormessenger/0.1.0b3/TorMessenger-0.1.0b3-osx64_en-US.dmg

Once it is downloaded, you need to mount the image which will then show you the “Tor Messenger” client.

The next step is to copy this to the applications folder, DO NOT RUN this from the mounted image as it will fail with an error about a profile error. You have to copy this out.

Once it is copied over you and launch the application and it will present a familiar interface that you will have seen when using regular Tor.

If you need to configure your internet connection, then click the “Configure” button.

If you are using “Tor Bridges” then you can now add them.

If you are not using “Tor Bridges” then you may be using a proxy to get internet access, the messenger lets you set this too.

Once the configuration is completed then it will connect to the Tor Network and create the Circuit.

Once the circuit is completed the “Tor Messenger” will load and the client will then appear.

The wizard for adding accounts will then load allowing you to connect to supported services.

Clicking the options for “Show All” will let you select specific protocols.

As an example we can choose the “Google Talk” option and then following the wizard.

Upon completing the account addition, it should then connect, bear in mind I used “Google Talk” and had to use an “App” password not my regular password.

The Messenger should now load your contacts and list them out like a normal messenger.

You are now ready to have conversations, knowing that it is secure and routed through the Tor Network at least until it hits the other platform.

When starting a conversation, you will notice that it may not be a private conversation as both parties need to support “OTP“, Off-the-Record Messaging.

To make the conversation private, click the “Red Padlock“.

A menu will then pop down where you can choose to make it private or you can set the “OTR” preferences.

OTR” preferences will allow you to generate the security key that is needed for the secure communication.

Clicking the “Generate” button will create the needed key.

Once it is completed the “OTR” settings should then show your fingerprint.

Now you are able to click the padlock icon and choose the “Start Private Conversation“.

As you can see there is a missing plugin that is required, head over to the site and set that up. However, there are some things that won’t work just yet, but the majority does work well. If you connect to a contact that does support “OTR” then the conversation will work in private mode.

Liam Cleary

I work as an Associate Director for Protiviti in Virginia. My main focus is to ensure that SharePoint can either natively or with minimal customization meet the business requirement securely. I am currently a SharePoint MVP focused on Architecture but also cross the boundary into Development and Security. I am often found at user groups, conferences speaking, offering advice, spending time in the community, teaching my kids how to code, raspberry PI programming, hacking the planet and sometimes building Lego robots.

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