Off-the-Record Messaging plugin for pidgin v4.0.2, 9 Mar 2016 This is a pidgin plugin which implements Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging. It is known to work (at least) under the Linux and Windows versions of pidgin (2.x). OTR allows you to have private conversations over IM by providing: - Encryption - No one else can read your instant messages. - Authentication - You are assured the correspondent is who you think it is. - Deniability - The messages you send do _not_ have digital signatures that are checkable by a third party. Anyone can forge messages after a conversation to make them look like they came from you. However, _during_ a conversation, your correspondent is assured the messages he sees are authentic and unmodified. - Perfect forward secrecy - If you lose control of your private keys, no previous conversation is compromised. For more information on Off-the-Record Messaging, see https://otr.cypherpunks.ca/ USAGE Run pidgin, and open the Plugins panel. (If you had a copy of pidgin running before you installed pidgin-otr, you will need to restart it.) Find the Off-the-Record Messaging plugin, and enable it by selecting the checkbox next to it. That should be all you need to do. CONFIGURATION Click "Configure Plugin" to bring up the OTR UI. The UI has two "pages": "Config" and "Known fingerprints". The "Config" page allows you generate private keys, and to set OTR settings and options. Private keys are used to authenticate you to your buddies. OTR will automatically generate private keys when needed, but you can also generate them manually if you wish by using the "Generate" button here. Choose one of your accounts from the menu, click "Generate" and wait until it's finished. You'll see a sequence of letters and number appear above the "Generate" button. This is the "fingerprint" for that account; it is unique to that account. If you have multiple IM accounts, you can generate private keys for each one separately. The OTR settings determine when private messaging is enabled. The checkboxes on this page control the default settings; you can edit the per-buddy settings by right-clicking on your buddy in the buddy list, and choosing "OTR Settings" from the menu. The settings are: [X] Enable private messaging [X] Automatically initiate private messaging [ ] Require private messaging [ ] Don't log OTR conversations If the "enable private messaging" box is unchecked, private messages will be disabled completely (and the other two boxes will be greyed out, as they're irrelevant). If the first box is checked, but "automatically initiate private messaging" is unchecked, private messaging will be enabled, but only if either you or your buddy explicitly requests to start a private conversation (and the third box will be greyed out, as it's irrelevant). If the first two boxes are checked, but "require private messaging" is unchecked, OTR will attempt to detect whether your buddy can understand OTR private messages, and if so, automatically start a private conversation. If the first three boxes are checked, messages will not be sent to your buddy unless you are in a private conversation. If the fourth box is checked, OTR-protected conversations will not be logged, even if logging of instant messages is turned on in pidgin. The OTR UI Options control the appearance of OTR in your conversation window. At present, the only option is: [X] Show OTR button in toolbar This option controls whether an extra button will appear in your toolbar. This button will allow you to quickly see the OTR status of your conversation, to manually start or stop an OTR conversation, or to authenticate your buddy. All of these abilities are already available in the OTR menu, but some people prefer a butter closer to where they type their messages. The "Known fingerprints" page allows you to see the fingerprints of any buddies you have previously communicated with privately. The "Status" will indicate the current OTR status of any conversation using each fingerprint. The possibilities are "Private", which means you're having a private conversation, "Unverified", which means you have not yet verified your buddy's fingerprint, "Not private", which means you're just chatting in IM the usual (non-OTR) way, and "Finished", which means your buddy has selected "End private conversation"; at this point, you will be unable to send messages to him at all, until you either also choose "End private conversation" (in which case further messages will be sent unencrypted), or else choose "Refresh private conversation" (in which case further messages will be sent privately). The table also indicates whether or not you have verified this fingerprint by authenticating your buddy. By selecting one of your buddies from the list, you'll be able to do one or more of the following things by clicking the buttons below the list: - "Start private conversation": if the status is "Not private" or "Finished", this will attempt to start a private conversation. - "End private conversation": if the status is "Unverified", "Private", or "Finished", you can force an end to your private conversation by clicking this button. There's not usually a good reason to do this, though. - "Verify fingerprint": this will open a window where you can verify the value of your buddies' fingerprint. If you do not wish to work with fingerprints directly, you should instead authenticate used the OTR button from within a conversation. - "Forget fingerprint": this will remove your buddy's fingerprint from the list. You'll have to re-authenticate him the next time you start a private conversation with him. Note that you can't forget a fingerprint that's currently in use in a private conversation. You can close the configuration panel (but make sure not to disable the OTR plugin). IM as normal with your buddies. If you want to start a private conversation with one of them, bring up the OTR menu (either from the menubar or by clicking the OTR button, if you have enabled it). From the OTR menu, select "Start private conversation". If your buddy does not have the OTR plugin, a private conversation will (of course) not be started. [But he or she will get some information about OTR instead.] If your buddy does have the OTR plugin (and it's enabled), a private conversation will be initiated. If both you and your buddy have OTR software, and your OTR settings set to automatically initiate private messaging, your clients may recognize each other and automatically start a private conversation. The first time you have a private conversation with one of your buddies, a message will appear in your conversation telling you to authenticate them. You may authenticate by selecting "Authenticate Buddy" on the OTR menu. This is described later on. At this point, the label on the OTR button in the conversation window will change to "OTR: Unverified". This means that, although you are sending encrypted messages, you have not yet authenticated your buddy, and so it is not certain that the person who can decrypt these messages is actually your buddy (it may be an attacker). This situation will remain until either you or your buddy choose "Authenticate Buddy" from the OTR button menu (described next). The OTR menu contains the following choices: Start / Refresh private conversation Choosing this menu option will attempt to start (or refresh, if you're already in one) a private conversation with this buddy. End private conversation If you wish to end the private conversation, and go back to communicating without privacy protection, you can select this option. Note that if you have "Automatically initiate private messaging" set, it is likely that a new private conversation will automatically begin immediately. Authenticate Buddy For more information on authentication, see https://otr-help.cypherpunks.ca/3.2.0/authenticate.php OTR provides three ways to authenticate your buddy: 1) Question and answer 2) Shared secret 3) Manual fingerprint verification To start the authentication process, you need to first be communicating with your buddy in the "Unverified" or "Private" states. [Although the "Private" state indicates that you have already successfully authenticated your buddy, and it is not necessary to do it again.] Choose "Authenticate buddy" from the OTR menu. The Authenticate Buddy dialog will pop up. Use the combo box to select which of the three authentication methods you would like to use. Once you have authenticated your buddy, your OTR status will change to "Private". OTR will also remember that you successfully authenticated, and during future private conversations with the same buddy, you will no longer get the warning message when you start chatting. This will continue until your buddy switches to a computer or an IM account he or she hasn't used before, at which point OTR will not recognize him or her and you will be asked to authenticate again. Question and answer ------------------- To authenticate using a question, pick a question whose answer is known only to you and your buddy. Enter this question and this answer, then wait for your buddy to enter the answer too. If the answers don't match, then you may be talking to an imposter. If your buddy answers correctly, then you have successfully authenticated him or her, and the OTR status of this conversation will change to "Private". Your buddy will probably also want to ask you a question as well in order for him or her to authenticate you back. Note that this method first appeared in pidgin-otr 3.2.0; if your buddy is using an older version, this will not work. Shared secret ------------- To authenticate someone with the shared secret method, you and your buddy should decide on a secret word or phrase in advance. This can be done however you like, but you shouldn't type the phrase directly into your conversation. Enter the shared secret into the field provided in the Authenticate Buddy dialog box. Once you enter the secret and hit OK, your buddy will be asked to do exactly the same thing. If you both enter the same text, then OTR will accept that you are really talking to your buddy. Otherwise, OTR reports that authentication has failed. This either means that your buddy made a mistake typing in the text, or it may mean that someone is intercepting your communication. Note that this method first appeared in pidgin-otr 3.1.0; if your buddy is using an older version, this will not work. Manual fingerprint verification ------------------------------- If your buddy is using a version of pidgin-otr before 3.1.0, or a different OTR client that does not support the other authentication methods, you will need to use manual fingerprint verification. You will need some other authenticated communication channel (such as speaking to your buddy on the telephone, or sending gpg-signed messages). You should tell each other your own fingerprints. If the fingerprint your buddy tells you matches the one listed as his or her "purported fingerprint", pull down the selection that says "I have not" (verified that this is in fact the correct fingerprint), and change it to "I have". Once you do this, the OTR status will change to "Private". Note that you only need to do this once per buddy (or once per fingerprint, if your buddy has more than one fingerprint). pidgin-otr will remember which fingerprints you have marked as verified. What's this? This will open a web browser to get online help. NOTES Please send your bug reports, comments, suggestions, patches, etc. to us at the contact address below. This plugin only attempts to protect instant messages, not multi-party chats, file transfers, etc. MAILING LISTS There are three mailing lists pertaining to Off-the-Record Messaging: otr-announce: https://lists.cypherpunks.ca/mailman/listinfo/otr-announce/ *** All users of OTR software should join this. *** It is used to announce new versions of OTR software, and other important information. otr-users: https://lists.cypherpunks.ca/mailman/listinfo/otr-users/ Discussion of usage issues related to OTR Messaging software. otr-dev: https://lists.cypherpunks.ca/mailman/listinfo/otr-dev/ Discussion of OTR Messaging software development. LICENSE The Off-the-Record Messaging plugin for pidgin is covered by the following (GPL) license: Off-the-Record Messaging plugin for pidgin Copyright (C) 2004-2016 Ian Goldberg, Rob Smits, Chris Alexander, Willy Lew, Lisa Du, Nikita Borisov <firstname.lastname@example.org> This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of version 2 of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. There is a copy of the GNU General Public License in the COPYING file packaged with this plugin; if you cannot find it, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA CONTACT To report problems, comments, suggestions, patches, etc., you can email the authors: Ian Goldberg, Rob Smits, Chris Alexander, Willy Lew, Lisa Du, Nikita Borisov <email@example.com> For more information on Off-the-Record Messaging, visit https://otr.cypherpunks.ca/
This is a plugin for Pidgin 2.x which implements Off-the-Record Messaging over any IM network Pidgin supports. The current version is 4.0.0.