Off-the-Record Messaging allows you to have private encrypted conversations


The digital world has enabled robust connectivity but at the same time has entered into an uncertain stage where the threat of information hijack looms large. Under such a worrying scenario, Off-the-Record Messaging app comes forth as a very useful solution if you want to message privately without being worried.

Off-the-Record Private Messaging

Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging allows you to have private conversations over instant messaging by providing encryption. This means no one else can read your instant messages. The application mainly works as a localhost AIM proxy. So, you can run the application on your local computer, and request your AIM client to connect to it.

It offers the following key features:

  1. Encryption
  2. Authentication
  3. Deniability
  4. Perfect forward secrecy.

Off-the-Record Private Messaging

Off-the-Record supports four common kinds of proxies:

  1. AIM
  2. SOCKS5
  3. HTTPS
  4. HTTP

To make the program work, you need to find a proxy method that your AIM client and OTR proxy have in common. To do so, run ‘otrproxy’. It will inform you about the Off-the-Record Messaging Proxy. Once found, you will need to configure your AIM client to communicate to the proxy.

When done, you will notice the OTR Proxy window, which lists all your currently active private connections, as well as a menu offering a path to exit the proxy or edit preferences. The preferences panel displays two “pages”:

  1. Known fingerprints
  2. OTR Preferences

Instant Messaging

The latter option allows you to generate private keys, and to set OTR options. A list of OTR options determines whether the private messaging is enabled or not. The options available are:

The options available are:

  • Enable private messaging
  • Automatically initiate private messaging
  • Require private messaging

If you find that the “Enable private messaging” box is unchecked, private messages will be disabled completely. Other two boxes present alongside the option will be grayed out. The second case, if the first box appears checked, but “Automatically initiate private messaging” is unchecked, private messaging will be enabled, but only if either you or your buddy explicitly requests to start a private conversation.

Finally, if the first two boxes are checked, but “Require private messaging” is unchecked, OTR will attempt to detect whether your buddy can understand OTR private messages and if so, automatically start a private conversation. If all three boxes are checked, messages will not be sent to your buddy unless you are in a private conversation.

Thus, Off-the-Record Messaging App supports every feature that you desire for the secure communications system.

Having said that, it is important to bear in mind that this is a really a very early version of the proxy, and as such, missing many features. If you use are interested in using the application and make it better, provide your valuable feedback to the OTR-users mailing list. See this page for download and other information.


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