Chat se­curely

Do you of­ten stay in touch through in­stant mes­sag­ing apps such as Skype?

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While they can be great fun, the bad news is that Skype, in par­tic­u­lar, isn’t that se­cure. If you want true end-toend en­cryp­tion for voice, video and text-based chats (as well as se­cure file shar­ing), then you’ll need to look into us­ing an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion.

The most se­cure we have found is Ret­roshare ( www.ret­roshare.net). The only catch is that you’ll have to con­vince all your con­tacts to use it, too — if this is a deal breaker, take a look at Jitsi ( jitsi.org), which sup­ports a num­ber of dif­fer­ent mes­sag­ing plat­forms.

You can in­stall Ret­roshare (choose the QT5 ver­sion when at the down­load page) to your PC’s main stor­age drive or run it as a portable ap­pli­ca­tion, then set up your ac­count and get each con­tact to do the same. You then ex­port cer­tifi­cate files to send to each con­tact be­fore im­port­ing their file in turn. Tick ‘Authen­ti­cate friend (Sign PGP Key)’ if you’re con­fi­dent in their iden­tity, then wait while Ret­roshare’s Con­nec­tion As­sis­tant sets up the con­nec­tion.

It’s a fid­dly process get­ting that ini­tial con­nec­tion set up (and you have to re­peat it for each de­vice you in­stall Ret­roshare on and im­port your iden­tity into), but once both of you are ver­i­fied and con­nected to the other, you can be se­cure in the knowl­edge that fu­ture chats aren’t just en­crypted and se­cure from un­wanted eaves­drop­pers, but that you know ex­actly who you’re chat­ting with.

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