How to connect with friends & loved ones securely, without anyone else listening in

by LDR Mag
2 comments 3709 views
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You have every reason to be spooked. With recent reports of NSA spying, photos being hacked from cellphones, computer malware breaching your digital privacy and the general everyday threat of some creeper peering in on your private personal conversations –who can blame you for wanting to find the most secure ways to connect with the people you care about? We don’t.

It’s sad to say that we now live in an age where just about every telephone conversation, Skype call and text you send can no longer be considered to be just between you and the receiver. It can make you quite paranoid to say the least.

Fret not for there are a few tools that can help make your correspondence with your long distance friend or lover a little more secure.  We’re going to highlight 8 of those options in this article.

While we can’t promise that they’ll protect you from the prying eyes of everyone (disclaimer!) these services do state that they offer secure encryption or other forms of protection. You can never have too much, right?

Gruveo: Fast & Anonymous Video Calls

» Visit Gruveo
  • No software is required to use this service, which means you don’t have to download a thing.
  • Every video call is securely encrypted.
  • You can make video or voice calls, just by having both parties enter in a predetermined number that you both agree on which will instantly connect you together.
  • Video Calls are only one on one, so no worries about anyone else accidentally picking your room number and cutting in on your call.

gruveo

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“All calls on Gruveo are encrypted with industry-standard encryption. Second, wherever possible, Gruveo calls are established using decentralized, peer-to-peer technology where data flows directly between the users’ devices. And third, once a call between two parties has been established, no other party can connect to it, even if they enter the same number.”

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Jitsi: Secure, Multi-Platform & Open Source Instant Messenger

» Visit Jitsi
  • A free, downloadable open source  instant messenger with VoIP and video-chat.
  • Compatible with MSN/Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Bonjour, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and Facebook chat -but not Skype.
  • Jitsi encrypts video, voice calls instant messages across all compatible services.
  • File Sharing, Desktop/Screen Sharing, Multi-platform, Conference calls
  • Coming soon to Android devices

jitsi

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“Jitsi supports the OTR encryption protocol. OTR stands for Off-the-Record Messaging and once you’ve set it up (i.e. clicked on that padlock icon in a chat window and verified the identity of your contact) it allows you to make sure that no one other than you two can read your messages, not even your service provider.”

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Tox: Free, Secure Messaging, Calls & Video

» Visit Tox
  • Encrypted Instant Messaging, Tox to Tox Calls, file sharing and Video Calls.
  • Tox is not ad supported and will never require you to pay for features.

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“Tox is built on a “privacy goes first” agenda, and we make no compromises. Your safety is our top priority, and there isn’t anything in the world that will change that. Tox uses the encryption algorithms present in the NaCl crypto library. “

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Chat Secure: Private, Secure & Unlimited Messaging

» Visit ChatSecure
  • Secure messaging over Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Hangouts, Jabber & more.
  • Multi-platform so it works  with Android, iPhone, Mac, Linux or PC.

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“We keep your messages 100% private using state of the art Off-The-Record (OTR) encryption. Your conversations cannot be logged or intercepted by anyone. NOTE: These security measures only apply when your friend uses a compatible OTR client like ChatSecure, Adium, Jitsi, Gajim or Pidgin.”

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Crypto Cat: A Browser App For Private Chat

» Visit Crypto Cat
  • Crypto Cat is available as a browser application for Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome, and OSX
  • Available for iPhone, Android coming soon.
  • It doesn’t require usernames or accounts. Users enter a conversation using a one-time nickname.

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“Our mission has always been on making encrypted chat fun and easy to use, first and foremost. Cryptocat offers a unique ephemerality that makes setting up encrypted conversations immediate and without any lasting history that can be traced back to users. Everything is encrypted before it leaves your computer. Even the Cryptocat network itself can’t read your messages.”

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Unseen.is: Private Secure Messaging, Calling and Email.

» Visit Unseen.is
  • Replaces insecure applications like email and Skype with a web site, mobile apps and desktop clients that all work together to help you securely communicate with the people you care about.
  • Registration is required to use the service.
  • Available as a Desktop Application for Windows 7, 8 and XP SP3, Ubuntu 32 bit and 64 bit & Mac OS X

unseenis

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“We use a hybrid peer-to-peer and hosted network solution for transmission of encrypted messages. Messages are encrypted and decrypted by each person sending or receiving a message. They are never decrypted along the way (we don’t have the key). This is done automatically and is transparent to the user and our services will appear on the surface to work the same as the regular free email or chat services.”

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ChatStep: Secure, Minimalistic Online Group Chat

» Visit ChatStep
  • Chatstep stores no chat logs or temporary copies of any uploaded data
  • Share Youtube videos and images easily, with just a drag and clip feature.
  • No registration is required, no passwords to type in.
  • No ads or tracking scripts
  • All nicknames, messages, and images are encrypted on your computer before they are sent.

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“When members of a chat group share the room’s password offline or on a secure channel, all communications are safe regardless of the security of their connection to ChatStep or the ChatStep server itself! All nicknames, chat messages, and images are encrypted with AES-256 by the browser using the room password before being sent to the server. The room password is never shared with the server or other users.”

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Telegram: A Secure Messaging App for Smartphones

» Visit Telegram
  • Official apps are available for iOS and Android smartphones, while unofficial apps for Windows Phones and various web browsers are also available.
  • Messages are heavily encrypted and can actually self destruct.
  • No ads or subscriptions fees now, or in the future. Free forever.
  • Access your messages from several devices.
  • Share an unlimited number of photos, videos and documents.

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“Telegram is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line. We are based on the MTProto protocol, built employing time-tested algorithms to make security compatible with high speed delivery and reliability. We are continuously working with the community to improve the security of our protocol and clients.”

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Those are our picks -What secure services do you use to make sure your conversations stay private? Tell us in the comments!

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2 comments

robin taylor June 15, 2014 - 3:35 am

how do I send pictures on chatstep in windows 8

Reply
LDR Magazine June 15, 2014 - 11:34 pm

Hi Robin! From the website it looks like you can “Drag and drop images straight into the chat box to quickly and easily share them with others.” 🙂

Reply

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