Off-the-Record Instant Messaging

Two years after the Edward Snowden leaks, millions of people worldwide have adopted encrypted and probably secure methods of using the Internet. The Tor network has doubled in size, Tails has tripled in users, PGP has double the daily adoption rate, but perhaps the most popular secure application is Off The Record, a product that provides encryption for instant messaging conversations.

Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging allows you to have private conversations over instant messaging by providing:

  • Encryption – No one else can read your instant messages.
  • Authentication – You are assured the correspondent is who you think it is.
  • Deniability – The messages you send do not have digital signatures that are checkable by a third party. Anyone can forge messages after a conversation to make them look like they came from you. However, during a conversation, your correspondent is assured the messages he sees are authentic and unmodified.
  • Perfect forward secrecy – If you lose control of your private keys, no previous conversation is compromised.

You can learn more about Off-the-Record Instant Messaging at https://otr.cypherpunks.ca.

Instructions for installing Off-the-Record on a Macintosh may be found at: https://www.calyxinstitute.org/education/howto-encrypted-instant-messaging-with-osx-adium-and-otr.

A YouTube tutorial for Off-the-Record may be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV6-s9o9bVw.

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