The Tor Project launched Tor Messenger back in 2015 as a beta with the aim to improve the security of instant messaging communication services and user privacy.
Based on Instantbird, an instant messenger that relied on code and technologies developed by Mozilla, Tor Messenger allowed users to use various protocols supported by Instantbird including Facebook Chat, Google Talk, XMPP, IRC or Jabber.
Tor Messenger sent data over the Tor network and enforced one-on-one conversation encryption using Off-the-Record messaging.
The project tried to introduce support for multiple chat and messaging protocols in a client that came with security and privacy presets to improve both with minimal user configuration.
It was clear even back then that the solution had limitations. One of the core issues of Tor Messenger was that communication was built on existing networks which meant that servers could log metadata.
Tor Messenger was not the first chat client that relied on Tor to improve security and privacy. TorChat, released back in 2011, was probably the first attempt to bring instant messaging and Tor together.
The Tor Project announced today that it will discontinue support for Tor Messenger after the release of eleven beta versions.
Three reasons are provided:
The Tor Project felt that the best course of action was to sunset Tor Messenger. The team suggests that users who rely on Tor Messenger check out the EFF's "Building a secure messenger" article or check out CoyIM if support for XMPP is required.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.