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Invisible.im Messenger Promises to Hide Everything

Following a recent Massachusetts court ruling that a criminal suspect can be forced to decrypt his or her computer, concerned individuals may be looking for ways to safeguard their PC-based communications.

Invisible.im is an instant-messaging service in early development that aims to not only encrypt conversations, but also hide metadata and contact lists from the prying eyes of law enforcement, spies and criminals.

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Led by Australian IT security analyst Patrick Gray, Metasploit creator and Rapid7 Chief Research Officer HD Moore, Bangkok-based exploit broker "The Grugq," and Australian security researcher Richo Healey, Invisible.im is being developed "for whistleblowers and media sources who wish to remain anonymous when communicating with the press or other organizations."

This service differentiates itself from encrypted messaging service Heml.is, created by Peter Sunde of Pirate Bay infamy, which focuses on secure communication for mobile devices. Invisible.im is slated for release on Windows, OS X and Linux, and is based on the widely used XMPP chat protocol.

Instead of routing communications through existing XMPP servers, Invisible.im sets up a local XMPP server on the host machine. Chat is then run through the OTR (Off The Record) encryption plug-in, and data is anonymized by running the chat traffic through the Tor privacy network. Cryptographically verified users will be able to chat without leaving any logs or other forensic data that can be used against them.

Services offering increased anonymity have seen a large increase in popularity in the wake of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, which began in June 2013. For example, search engine DuckDuckGo, which promises tracking-free results, saw traffic double over the summer of 2013.

The Invisible.im project is still in its infancy, but has a working proof-of-concept and is looking for new coders to contribute to its development. To find out more, visit the Invisible.im site.

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