Local Tech Repair: Securing Communication

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Securing Communication

Have you ever wanted to have a personal conversation with out anyone else being able to find out what you and your friend or business partner are talking about?

In life we use various  different tools to help communicate with someone else over a distance. Either this can be via a phone, instant messaging, or email are some of the top choices. Well all these can be tracked and read by either friends or governments that want to know what you are doing. So lets go into some simple ways of setting up encryption to make sure that only the people that are meant to read or hear what you have to say actually are the only ones that are able to.

Instant Messaging

some of you my be at college or at home where a parent is logging all your messages. your classic yahoo, msn, AIM all transmit their messages in "plain text". Which means anyone in between you and the person your talking to is the exact same as if you where yelling it to them in a room full of people.

one of the easiest ways to help protect you and the person your talking to is to get a program that will encrypt your convocations.
the simplest one that i have used is a plugin to a program called pidgin which is a Instant messaging management program. After you set up pidgin you can get a plugin for it called OTR which helps by giving privacy.  Some may want to use Pidgin-Encryption which also gives the option of user authentication signing.

"How is this different from the pidgin-encryption plugin?

The pidgin-encryption plugin provides encryption and authentication, but not deniability or perfect forward secrecy. If an attacker or a virus gets access to your machine, all of your past pidgin-encryption conversations are retroactively compromised. Further, since all of the messages are digitally signed, there is difficult-to-deny proof that you said what you did: not what we want for a supposedly private conversation!"

After you install OTR you are able to encrypt your conversation with friends that you have shared keys with. This program I have used for many years because my own college tracked and logged all IM convocations.


Email is something that almost everyone we know uses and well we also do. Though what happens if a government hacks your account, if the FBI trys to confiscate your emails, a friend finds out your password and reads about how you are cheating with his girl friend, or your a political figure that got their email hacked in to and emails published during an election. All these things have happened, well i don't know about the cheating one but i am sure it has.

well one of the easiest things to do is just encrypt all your emails that you send to friends or coworkers.
An easy setup would be to use Thunderbird and one of their plugins called Enigmail which uses OpenPGP. This goes to encrypt the text in your conversation so even if they get access to your email they have to go through another barrier and figure out how to crack your encryption.


For those that are wanting to encrypt their phone conversations so that the government does not know what they are saying when they listen in to their conversation. well here is a easy way to set up that encryption. Zfone is an easy way to help you keep your conversations secure and private. i have not used this software but i am looking forward to in the future.

well i hope you enjoyed this if you have anything to add please leave a comment.