New secure messenger service launched by Tor

A new online chat tool, Tor Messenger, has been launched, in an attempt to improve online messaging security.

Only the participants in a chat will be able to view the messages sent, which make use of The Onion Router (Tor) network. The network allows users to send messages whilst hiding their locations, and it does this by sending the messages across a series of routers, preventing the origin of the messages from being tracked.

Those who can’t use certain chat clients in their country, or who wish to remain anonymous, can use Tor Messenger to chat through Twitter, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Yahoo and more.

It is also possible for messages to be encrypted to provide more security. This encryption feature is enabled by default, but if this is desired by both people in a one-to-one chat, then they need to set up off-the-record (OTR) encryption, and each party will need to exchange a secret key to decode the messages they send to each other.

Jim Killock, the executive director of Open Rights Group, said: “At the end of the day some people really do need privacy and security so this would be important to them. I think it shows the worries people have that chats and other clients are being snooped on.”

At the moment, the messenger is still only in beta mood, and needs to undergo security tests.