Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2 tools to encrypt IM messages

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Instant messenger networks are not secure. They can be eavesdropped and your messages recorded by hackers or crackers, whatever you called them. Even Yahoo! acknowledges that they record IP addresses. Who knows what else they record? So, if you are worried about privacy when using instant messengers, here are two free solutions.

IM Crypto: To create an encrypted channel for transporting IM messages, you must have IM Crypto installed on both ends of the channel. I think you’ve already got the idea. IM Crypto sits between two users using an IM messenger and encrypts any messages the users exchange between themselves, by using a pair of public and private keys. No one but the receiver at the other end of the channel who has the private key can decrypt your messages. Anyone else who tries to listen to or record your messages will only get a heap of garbled characters.

IMCrypto-Toolbar

The disappointing factor of IM Crypto is the limited support for IM clients. The program supports only Yahoo messenger and ICQ. Also the free version allows you to create a secured channel with only one of your contacts.

Simp Lite is a better utility for encrypting IM messages because it supports 4 different instant messengers – Yahoo, MSN, ICQ/AIM and Jabber/Google. That pretty much covers the popular IM networks. It works the same way as IM Crypto, i.e. the software must be installed on both machines or rather all machines, because here is the good part: Simp Lite allows you to create multiple secured contacts. You are even allowed to use two separate private keys per contact.

simplite-yahoo-screenshoot

This makes Simp Lite a lot better than IM Crypto. The Pro version, which is priced at $45 for two user licenses, even allows encrypted file transfer.

1 comment:

  1. Both AOL's IM client and Apple's iChat which can works over the AOL IM network have an option in "settings" that will use https thereby effectively encrypting your chat sessions.

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