I know one of the first questions that come to mine are why  do you feel the need for encryption, especially in instant messages on something such as Facebook?

Well what if I wanted to discuss something of nature which I deemed as being sensitive and personal. Yes! Sometimes the man who shares things what’s to keep some info very private?

Your standard Facebook chat for example is sent in plane txt, and someone snooping can read my conversations. “But, Jermal … Facebook and its chat is secured over SSL”.

And while this is 100% correct, and will protect me and those I am chatting with from the classic would be network sniffer it is clearly not the case when it comes to those running the chat server at Facebook or those who gain access to the account of the remote party or even my own. 

You see, someone could pull up the chat history from my account or remote party and read what was written.  This is not the case if the conversation was completely encrypted in the first place.

This is where some simple to use, and also free software come to assist you in your need for better privacy.

For this I am using Pidgin: an easy to use and free chat client that connects to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, IRC and the list goes on.

Pidgin also supports plug-ins such as Pidgin-Encryption that transparently encrypts your instant messages with RSA encryption using public / private key pairs.

I’ve done the following

Install > Then configure Pidgin for Facebook chat by

  • Opening Pidgin, and click Manage Accounts.

  • In the accounts area click Add… Then select Facebook (XMPP) from the Protocol list

  • Now, enter your Facebook username without the facebook.com part (e.g your.facebook.username, not http://www.facebook.com/your.user.name).
  • Then, enter chat.facebook.com for the Domain, and enter your standard Facebook password.  You can check the “Remember password” box if you’d like Pidgin to automatically sign in to Facebook chat.

  • Now, click on the Advanced tab, and uncheck the “Require SSL/TLS” box.
  • Then click Add, and your Facebook account is added to Pidgin.

Good! You are now using Pidgin with your Facebook account. To enable the encryption plugin you had installed you do the following:

  • In Pidgin , select tools then plugins from the drop down

  • You will find yourself in the plugins selection menu, scroll down to location the Pidgin-Encryption plugin and select it and close.

*note* there are options you can change later if you with, so take a peek to see what works best for you.

Back in pidgin you simply start a chat with someone who is also using Pidgin and the Encryption plugin and you can enable the pad lock on the top of the chat and stat having a conversation.

Back in Facebook’s normal chat window it looks like this

As you can see, secure messaging achieved.

– Kate this post was for you.