Instant messaging is a wonderful invention. It allows for real-time communication that is easy to use. There’s only one major problem: it isn’t private. While we don’t know the details, it appears that NSA, the FBI, repressive governments, and hackers all over the world are monitoring your instant messages. Luckily, there’s an easy-to-implement solution that offers real privacy.
Ricochet is an open source program for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux that uses the Tor network to reach your contacts without relying on messaging servers. It creates a hidden service, which is used to rendezvous with your contacts without revealing your location or IP address.
With Ricochet, instead of a username, you get a unique address that looks like this: ricochet:rs7ce36jsj24ogfw. Other Ricochet users can use this address to send a contact request – asking to be added to your contacts list.
You can see when your contacts are online, and send them messages (and soon, files). Your list of contacts is only known to your computer – never exposed to servers or network traffic monitoring.
Everything is encrypted end-to-end, so only the intended recipient can decrypt it, and anonymized, so nobody knows where it’s going and where it came from.
There is one major drawback: since the messages are sent directly from the sending computer to the receiving computer with no servers involved, both the sending and receiving computers have to be online at the same time for Ricochet to work.
The Ricochet software is free and open-source software. There are no usage fees to pay for the messaging service as there are no servers involved. Instead, the messages are sent directly from your computer to the recipient’s computer. There is nobody to pay!
Ricochet is available at: https://ricochet.im.