In a blog post, Tor developer, sukhbir posted the details of the newly released version of Tor Messenger; 0.2.0b2. The new release features a secure, automated updater, and high priority security fixes to Instantbird. Tor recommends that all its users upgrade as soon as possible.
“This is the first release that contains ported patches from Tor Browser to securely update the application. Moving forward, Tor Messenger will prompt you when a new release is available, automatically download the update for you, and apply it upon restart. Keeping Tor Messenger up-to-date should now be seamless, painless, and secure,” the blog post read.
In past versions, the messenger stored its profile directory inside the app. Bundle. This is because it was built on the work already done for the Tor Browser. This caused trouble for Mac users who reported that there is a common expectation to be able to copy extracted applications to someone else’s computer. This issue could have caused some users to accidently transfer account information and OTR keys.
Earlier versions of Tor Messenger came with scary warnings saying the application wasn’t signed by any known developers and may not be what it says it is. Tor has fixed this by signing both the Windows and OS X bundles with Tor Browser developer keys.
“This summer, the Tor Messenger team participated in Google’s Summer of Code program, mentoring a project by Vu Quoc Huy, titled “CONIKS for Tor Messenger”. CONIKS is a key management and verification system for end-to-end secure communication services, using a model called key transparency. In this model, our users’ keys are managed in a public (and cryptographically) auditable yet privacy preserving key directory in order to provide a stronger security and better usability,” the post went on.
Tor developers also remind users to back up their OTR keys to reserve them during this update. They also remind users that they can always just generate new ones after the update has finished. Developers also note that the previous step of backing up one’s keys will no longer be needed after the update, as all profile data will be preserved, including accounts, and OTR keys.
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