The 5th of July Foundation runs a Jabber (XMPP) server for secure chats via OTR encryption. It is free for everyone to use.
XMPP is a chat protocol, which you can use with many different chat programs. Make sure that your chat program supports Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR) which lets you chat end-to-end encrypted in the way that Edward Snowden recommends. Here is a list of programs that support OTR.
In addition, the connection between your chat client and our server is SSL/TLS encrypted.
We support cross-server communication, so you can chat with a friend who has an account on another Jabber (XMPP) server. Just remember to always use OTR encryption.
Why choose our Jabber (XMPP) server?
There are many free Jabber (XMPP) servers around. But do you know who runs them and whether they log any data? Here is what we offer:
1. Trusted server
- We own the physical server ourselves (we don’t just rent a VPS in the “cloud”).
- The server is hosted on Swedish ground by Bahnhof, Sweden’s most resilient free-speech network operator, which also hosted Wikileaks.
- We don’t log anything.
2. Trusted owners
- The 5th of July Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission to spread Security, Privacy and Liberty to the general public.
- We are transparent about who we are: Internet veterans with a credible track record in the politics of internet privacy. Check us out here.
Follow the instructions below to get started. You don’t even need an email address!
Setting up an account is easy. The exact process depends on the program, but in general it works like this: You choose to create a new Jabber (XMPP) account, you enter your preferred username, which must end with @jabber.5july.org and a password. Then you click on “register account” or similar.
Here are detailed guides for Mac OS X and Windows 7:
For Mac OS X we use Adium. Download the latest version of the program at Adium.im.
1. Add a new account
Choose Adium > Preferences… in the menu. Under the tab Accounts, click the + (“plus”) symbol at bottom left to add a new account. Adium supports many chat protocols. Choose XMPP (Jabber).
2. Choose a username
Your username should look like in the screenshot above, just change the part before “@jabber.5july.org” to something unique. (Yes, it looks like an email address, but you can’t use it for that.) Choose a password. Then click “Register New Account”. If your username has already been taken, you will get a notice about that.
3. Choose encryption settings
You’re almost ready, but as a last step we recommend you to choose to encrypt chats automatically. You find this option in the Privacy tab (while still in the Accounts main tab).
For Windows 7 we use Pidgin. Download the latest version of the program at Pidgin.im and run the installer.
You also need a plugin for OTR encryption. Download the latest version from otr.cypherpunks.ca and run the installer.
Follow the 3 steps below to start chatting: 1) register an account, 2) configure the OTR plugin, and 3) add a buddy.
1. Register a new account
When starting Pidgin, choose Add… or go to Accounts > Manage Accounts in the Buddy List window:
For Protocol, choose XMPP:
Choose a username, enter the server address jabber.5uly.org, choose a password, and check the box “Create this new account on the server”. Then click Add:
You will be asked for your new username and password:
You will get a confirmation:
In the Accounts window, make sure the box Enabled is checked for your new account:
2. Configure the OTR plugin
Open Pidgin and choose Plugins from the Tools menu:
In the plugin list, check Off-the-Record Messaging and click Configure Plugin:
Choose the account you registered and click Generate to generate an encryption key:
When finished, you will get a “fingerprint”, which you can share with your friend as explained in the next step:
3. Add a buddy
In the Buddy List window, choose Buddies > Add Buddy… in the menu:
Enter your buddy’s full username (for example firstname.lastname@example.org) and click Add:
When your buddy comes online and adds you, you need to authorize him or her:
Double clicking on your buddy will start a conversation window. At the bottom right it will say “Not private”. Click there and choose “Start a private conversation”:
The “Not private” text will now change to “Unverified”. Click there and choose “Authenticate buddy”:
There are several ways to authenticate your buddy, that is, making sure he or she is the one you think. We recommend choosing “Manual fingerprint verification”, since this works across different clients. Check with your buddy if the fingerprint you see really is his or her fingerprint, for example by making a phone call and reading each other’s fingerprint out loud. If your buddy confirms that the fingerprint you got from him/her is correct, choose “I have…” and click Authenticate:
Your conversation is now set to Private. You can enjoy secure communication for real: