Wednesday 26 October 2016

How to stop your boss spying on you at work

Sophie Curtis

Published 02/11/2015 | 08:40

Big Brother: some fear the web will further dilute privacy
Big Brother: some fear the web will further dilute privacy

Ever worry that your boss could be spying on you at work? Whether it's email, web chat or instant messaging, it can be hard to know how much access your employers have to your communications.

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Now there is a way to make sure that no one will be able to snoop on your private conversations. The Tor Project has launched a beta version of its Tor Messenger, an encrypted messaging service aimed at those concerned about their privacy and potential surveillance.

The Tor Project is the non-profit organisation behind the Tor network, the free, encrypted network that conceals a user’s location or internet use from anyone conducting surveillance or traffic analysis.

Tor works by routing traffic through several randomly-selected servers in the Tor network. The traffic is also encrypted and re-encrypted multiple times, making it very difficult for police and other authorities to trace its source.

Tor Messenger is a cross-platform chat program based on Instantbird, an instant messaging client developed in the Mozilla community. It sends all of its traffic over the Tor network, enabling "off-the-record" messaging automatically.

Tor Messenger is compatible with the same protocol used by Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter and Yahoo, so users can tap into their existing network of contacts rather than having to rebuild it from scratch.

"Tor Messenger builds on the networks you are familiar with, so that you can continue communicating in a way your contacts are willing and able to do," said The Tor Project in a blog post.

"This has traditionally been in a client-server model, meaning that your metadata (specifically the relationships between contacts) can be logged by the server. However, your route to the server will be hidden because you are communicating over Tor."

The Tor Messenger beta is available for Windows, Mac and both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux. The Tor Project emphasised that the release is for users who would like to help with testing the product, but at the same time who also understand the risks involved in using beta software.

Tor Messenger is not the first application to offer encrypted messaging. Popular instant messaging apps like Pidgin and Adium also "off-the-record" communications. However, these require a manual setup process, whereas the Tor Messenger offers it by default.

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