There aren’t many options for secure or anonymous chat clients. That’s changing, though, and Tor Messenger is a step in the right direction.
Tor messenger is a messaging client that supports several popular protocols and uses the Tor network to transmit and receive messages. By using Tor, you’re afforded an additional degree of security and anonymity.
The messenger is still in Beta, so don’t expect perfection just yet. The program is free and open source, so feel free to submit bug-fixes and even contribute, if you’re able.
Download Tor Messenger
Tor Messenger is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This article will cover Windows and Linux, but Mac users can find the “.dmg” from the project’s download page.
Head to the download page and grab the latest release for Windows.
The file that you get will be an “.exe” that you can run to install Tor Messenger on your system. Run the executable and follow the instructions to install the program how you’d like.
The Linux package isn’t exactly an installer. It actually is a lot like the Tor Browser, if you’re familiar. Go to the project’s download page and grab the right tarball for your system.
Unpack the tarball after the download finishes using the archive manager of your choice. If you’re not sure, open a terminal and run the following command.
tar xJpf ~/Downloads/tor-messenger.tar.xz
It’ll unpack the tarball in your Downloads directory… assuming it downloaded there.
To run Tor Messenger, you just need to click on the “.desktop” file provided in the extracted archive. You can create a shortcut to it for your convenience.
When you first run Tor Messenger, it’ll present you with a window similar to the one you see when you first start up the Tor Browser. It lets you configure Tor Messenger to bypass restrictions if you need to. Otherwise, you can just click on the normal setup button to get started.
Connect to an Account
When the messenger gets up and running, you’ll need to set up some accounts. You can see the available protocols that Tor Messenger supports. Once you select one, you can enter your login information and connect. Like other messaging clients, Tor Messenger will remember the details of your accounts to sign you in going forward.
For better security, get your friends and colleagues on Tor Messenger, too. They don’t have to abandon the protocols and accounts that they’re familiar with, and you’ll both know that communications are encrypted and transmitted over Tor on both ends.