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TorChat 0.9.9.553

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license: Open Source
downloads: 544
size: 7.10 MB
updated: 2012-11-04

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Bernd Kreuss
TorChat is a peer to peer instant messenger with a completely decentralized design, built on top of Tor's location hidden services, giving you extremely strong anonymity while being very easy to use without the need to install or configure anything.

TorChat just runs from an USB drive on any Windows PC. (It can run on Linux and Mac too, in fact it was developed on Linux with cross platform usability in mind from the very first moment on, but the installation on other platforms than Windows is a bit more complicated at the moment)

Tor location hidden services basically means:

Nobody will be able to find out where you are.
If they are already observing you and sniff your internet connection they will not be able to find out
what you send or receive (everything is end-to-end encrypted)
to whom you are sending or receiving from
where your contacts are located

General information about Tor

official site of the Tor project
location hidden services
Tor at wikipedia
The Tor binary which is bundled with TorChat is taken from the official Tor-0.2.2.20-alpha installer. You can binary compare the tor.exe with the official one to verify this or replace it with your own version of tor.exe if you like.

Encryption
All TorChat traffic is encrypted end-to-end.

There are some misunderstandings floating around regarding Tor and encryption. Whenever I mention Tor and encryption in the same sentence the immediate reflex response of many people is: "But Tor provides no encryption!" This statement is true for most applications but not for all. The most commonly known usage of Tor is to use it as an anonymizer for traffic between the anonymous user and a publicly available service in the Internet and while the traffic will travel encrypted through the Tor network it MUST at some point leave the Tor network and enter the unencrypted internet to reach its final destination. This is the origin of the above mentioned "Tor provides no encryption" and it is undoubtedly true for this most widely known and practiced application of Tor and users should understand it.

However, there exists another and less commonly known mode of operation in which two Tor clients can initiate a fully encrypted peer-to-peer connection between each other that will not leave the Tor network at any point! This is what TorChat is using. Both clients build a normal 3-hop circuit from each end to some random tor node in the middle to "meet" there and connect their circuits with each other. Upon connection another layer of encryption is established reaching through from one client to the other, building one uninterrupted encrypted tunnel over all 5 hops between both clients. This means all TorChat traffic is end2end encrypted. There are no exit nodes involved in this mode, at no point other than your and your buddies own computer will the traffic ever leave the Tor network.

This less known Tor mode is called Tor hidden services, you can read more about it on the above link. It effectively allows true hidden peer-to-peer networks, there are just not many softwares that make any use of its peer-to-peer capability, most use it more in a traditional client-server manner, TorChat is one of the few (and at the moment I don't know of any other).

Authentication
TorChat buddies authenticate themselves by proving that they are reachable though their .onion address.

The Tor hidden service protocol by itself has no built-in authentication mechanism for incoming connections but it can guarantee that when you initiate an outgoing connection to a given .onion address you can never end up at the wrong counterpart, the one who answers the connection is the one who is in possession of the private key belonging to this address (the private_key file in the hidden_service folder).

User Rating: 3.4 (8 votes)

x64 compatible software
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Vista x64, Windows 7, Windows 7 x64


TorChat screenshot

TorChat Reviews

Software: TorChat 0.9.9.534
Reviewed by: Thomas (Nov 6, 2011)
Rating:
Review: Please run a TOR relay, and use Tor Chat, it is a Unique program...
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