You can now chat with privacy with Cryptocat’s iPhone app

Cryptocat, the encrypted chatting service has just released their iPhone app in the App Store. Cryptocat was initially rejected by Apple. It isn’t clear why it was rejected but according to the developers, Apple specifically had a problem with group chat encryption.The developer has indicated in a blog post that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) helped in resolving the issues with Apple.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation helped us invaluably, heroically and skillfully with dealing with some potential problems with being able to release Cryptocat for iPhone.

Cryptocat has became quite popular in wake of the NSA controversy, where the agency was found to intercept and snoop on communications. Cryptocat’s end-to-end encryption by design doesn’t allow for anyone in the middle to read your messages.


Here’s how it works:

Cryptocat is different from other encrypted chat tools in that it doesn’t require usernames or accounts. Users enter a conversation using a one-time nickname. There are no buddy lists or account activity or account history to link back to the user. This way, Cryptocat offers a unique ephemerality that makes setting up encrypted conversations immediate and without any lasting history that can be traced back to users.

According to the developer, Cryptocat depends on native iOS APIs instead of web cryptography which has been used by other Cryptocat clients. The iPhone app uses the OTR protocol for private conversations, and multiparty protocol for group conversations. Cryptocat is also available for Mac, and also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

So if you’re looking to chat with privacy, download Cryptocat from the App Store using this iTunes link.

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Categories: iPhone Apps

  • Bird

    what if the NSA actually created this app to directly detect and follow who has things to hide?

    • A Humble Privacy Advocate

      It’s possible but unlikely. Cryptocat for iOS is basically a fork of Pidgin-OTR (Off The Record) with a central XMPP server that you’re not even required to use. You could use this if you have your own XMPP server, or even if you wanted to have an encrypted chat over Facebook since they use the same protocol.

      NSA doesn’t exactly NEED yet another program to backdoor your systems, what with all the backdoors they have to your Cisco router, your copy of Windows*, your iDevice**. Of course they certainly still pursue other options, but I don’t think Cryptocat is one of the problems.

      Believe me, I’m just as worried about the spying as you are, but you must understand the technical details of what’s already in place before making these accusations. They have access to some pretty sophisticated techniques and this might be just a simple one, but in my personal opinion, I don’t think that’s the case.

      * see: “_NSAKEY”, they’ll deny the purpose of it to the grave but it certainly is exactly how it sounds. It was discovered in 1999, and exists in virtually every copy of windows since CE, iirc. Microsoft is responsible for putting it there even though they deny what it’s used for. If you ask me, I believe it’s a plausible deniability contract with the NSA stating they’re forbidden from actually openly stating its true purpose.

      ** see: “DROPOUTJEEP”, leaked via the Snowden documents. This platform grants guaranteed access to any iDevice they’re able to physically manipulate. Keep in mind that information was old, they’ve likely found a way to do this remotely, and that’s based on the assumption that Apple isn’t directly responsible for said access in the first place.