Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR) is a method used in journalism that encrypts private instant messaging conversations that occur online. Conversations are completely encrypted so that nobody can see the content of messages, including the government, a network provider, and even the service that provides instant messaging. In this article, we provide a brief synopsis of off-the-record messaging, including how it is done and the benefits that it provides.
Off-the-record messaging is a protocol that encrypts conversations that are had on instant messaging. It provides users with the ability to have private and secure chats while still allowing them to use all of the tools that the messaging service provides.
Off-the-record messaging uses a combination of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) symmetric key algorithm, the SHA-2 hash function, and the Diffie-Hellman key exchange. Because it uses a symmetric key approach, the same key is used to both encrypt and decrypt a conversation; there aren’t any public keys.
Off-the-Record Messaging provides several benefits for users. These benefits include: