How to Chat Securely Online Using CryptoCat

Last year people found out that their online private life is not so private because NSA is spying on everyone – even the ordinary US residents. I do not know if NSA is really wasting time and money on spying into the online lives of ordinary people, but this news sure makes you paranoid about your online privacy. If you are worried that someone might be reading your online chat messages or email messages, then you can use the free online CryptoCat to chat online securely. It is an encrypted online chat service that promises that all your conversations will be encrypted and not even the CryptoCat server can snoop into your chat messages.

The CryptoCat is available as an extension for most of the popular web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera) and also as an app for the iPhone. You can get the links to all these extensions and apps from the CryptoCat website. I tested the extension for the Firefox web browser. After the installation of the CryptoCat extension, you can click on the little cat icon in the toolbar or the add-ons bar to open the CryptoCat chat interface.

CryptoCat Encrypted Chat

On the CryptoCat chat tab that opens you have to enter a room name (for example, lobby), your username (you can enter any username) and then click on the connect button to start the encrypted chat connection. But you can also click on the Custom server near the bottom edge and choose one of the CryptoCat servers. There are two servers, a regular default server and another server running through TOR (the onion router).

CryptoCat Encrypted Chat

When the chat finally opens up, you will notice that it has an interface similar to IRC chat clients. The people in the room are listed on the right side and the chat conversation is shown in the center. At the bottom is a text box where you can type in your messages. If you want to chat with someone in the room privately, then you have to click on their name to open a private messaging window.

CryptoCat Encrypted Chat

Conclusion: If you are feeling paranoid about someone spying on your chat conversations, then you can use the CryptoCat encrypted chat service. It uses the OTR (off the record) encryption algorithm to keep your online conversations secure and private.

You can download CryptoCat extensions and iPhone apps from