The use of instant messaging software like Skype or WhatsApp has become widely popular for both private and business communication. When exchanging personal information or otherwise sensitive data, users need to be careful because the German data protection law does not necessarily apply to services located in other countries.
mailbox.org has started their own instant messaging service to extend its existing portfolio of secure communication services. As of February 2015, all mailbox.org account holders can instantly access the new messaging service – free of charge. The system is based on Jabber and the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) and allows the sending and receiving of encrypted text messages and files not just between users of mailbox.org but also those registered with other Jabber service providers.
- Jabber server for the secure exchange of messages and files in real-time
- Supports SSL/TLS as well as end-to-end encryption via OTR
- Security and ease-of-use for businesses and home users
Quick to set up and easy to use
The new service is based on Jabber and uses the established instant messaging protocol XMPP. Getting everything up and running is very simple: Customers of mailbox.org who want to use the new service must download one of the various free Jabber clients available on the Web. When setting up the software, all they need to do is enter their mailbox.org e-mail address and password – everything else works automatically and the service will be configured and ready within a matter of seconds. Depending on the client used, the new service also supports encrypted conferences for several users.
Encryption without compromises
Similar to our secure e-mail service, the new instant messaging service supports various encryption mechanisms to implement high data protections standards. Connections to the Jabber server are only possible with transport security via SSL/TLS enabled. DANE and DNSSEC are used to prevent any third-party manipulation of the connection. Secure end-to-end encryption is facilitated through the „Off-the-Record“ mechanism, which even less tech-savvy users can enable easily with a few mouse clicks. Any communication secured this way can only be read by the users who are communicating with each other, and no-one else.
Recommended Jabber software
For best communication security with the new instant messaging service, we recommend installing client software that supports OTR encryption (either natively or via plugin). This includes the clients Pidgin for Linux or Windows, and Adium for Mac OS X. There are also clients available to use with smartphones and tablet computers running Android or iOS as operating system. Integration of the new service into the mailbox.org web interface is currently in preparation and will be finished in April 2015.