XMPP/Jabber OTR Tutorial

This is a simple-to-follow tutorial covering how to chat with others safely and securely using the XMPP/Jabber messaging protocol. This tutorial will be done using Windows 10, but the same idea can be transferred across Mac OSX and all Linux distros.

1. Download XMPP Client For Pidgin

Before we get down to business, you need to download the XMPP client called Pidgin, which can be downloaded here. After you have downloaded the application, go through the install process until it is completed.

Pidgin

2. Download OTR

Once it is installed, start Pidgin. You will be presented with two different Windows. Ignore them for now. First, grab the software that will allow us to chat securely. It is called OTR, which stands for Off-the-Record messaging, and can be downloaded here.

Download and install it. Make sure that the Pidgin application is closed from your screen and taskbar before installing OTR.

Pidgin

3. Configure Pidgin

Once Pidgin and OTR have been installed, there are a few simple configurations that must be done to Pidgin. The first thing is to activate the OTR in Pidgin. To do this, open Pidgin, go to the “Tools” menu, select “Plugins,” and click on the checkbox next to “Off-the-Record Messaging.”

Configure Pidgin

4. Making an Account

Once you have done that, you can enter your XMPP account details and start chatting, or make a new account if you do not have one. If you need a list of free XMPP service providers, you can get one at this link.

For example, I will make a new account with the wtfismyip.com service. You can register through the client like will be discussed below, or you can register online from this link.

The first step to register from the client will be to enter the username, password, and domain. The username and password will be your choice, but the domain will be wtfismyip.com. The “Resource” box should be left blank. Next, check the “Create this new account on the server” box at the bottom of the screen. It should look something like this.

Opening Pidgin Account

5. Setting Up Tor as a SOCK5 Proxy

To be more secure, you will need to set up Tor as a SOCKS5 proxy. Not only will your messages be encrypted with OTR, but the traffic is also encrypted with Tor. To set up the proxy, click on the “Proxy” tab, set your “Host” and “Port” accordingly. Make sure Tor is running, or you will get connection errors.

Setting up Tor proxy Pidgin

6. Register New XMPP Account

Once this is done, click on the “Add” button, go back to the “Buddy List,” click on the “Accounts” drop-down, click on “Manage Accounts,” and finally click the checkbox next to your account. This will send the request to the server and ask you to confirm your new account.

Register your acount

If you get an error that pops up, don’t be worried. Sometimes, there is an error with the server, and you will have to register online. This has happened to me several times and is normal. Just register on the website of the XMPP host you are using.

Once you have done all of this, you need to add your buddy and get in a chat with him or her. I will be using a fake account for this example, but the same actions transfer over to when you chat with a real account. All you need to do is click on the “OTR” button in the chat room, and click “Start a Private Conversation.” Wait a few seconds, and just like that, you are chatting securely via XMPP.

“Start a Private Conversation”

If you have any questions, please send us a message here at The Hidden Wiki.