A Very Brief Overview of Secure IM Services

After the recent release of the TOR messenger beta it triggered me to look back into secure IM clients. I have tried a bunch of these in the past but most were in early dev and hadn’t reach the maturity I was looking for.

Below is a very brief overview of the major secure IM services at the moment. NOTE: this is a very brief rushed list so I may have the details wrong – please let me know if so.

TOR Messenger

TOR Messenger Link

  • Uses Instantbird Client
  • Routes messages via TOR
  • Supports OTR (Encryption, PFS etc)
  • Supports existing transports (XMPP, IRC, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter etc)
    • NOTE: All these methods require a centralised registration server for Metadata.
  • Supports Windows, Linux, Mac


Ricochet Link

  • Uses the Ricochet Client
  • Routes messages via TOR
  • Encryption is done via the TOR hidden service – not inherently built in via OTR
  • Supports only the ricochet transport
  • Supprots Windows, Linux, Mac


TOX Link

  • Supports a number of open source clients
  • Routes messages via DHT
  • Implements their own version of OTR
  • Encryption is done via NaCl
  • Supports only the TOX transport
  • Supports Windows, Linux, Mac, Android


Bleep Link

  • Uses the Bleep client
  • Routes messages via DHT
  • Uses ephemeral keys but cannot find details on crypto
  • Supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

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