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Counter-culture hackers from 4chan develop a secure Skype

Controversial (and that's putting it mildly) Internet message board 4chan has helped develop a secure online communication tool.

The name of the protocol is Tox, and it utilises the same peer-to-peer (P2P) technology as BitTorrent to allow users to communicate. The use of P2P means that there is no central hub where information can be intercepted, stored or snooped on. Tox also encrypts your communications, so even if your data is somehow stolen it would be useless to the thief.

David Lohle, spokesperson for the project, told Wired (opens in new tab): "Tox is just a tunnel to another node that's encrypted and secure. What you want to send over that pipe is up to your imagination."

According to the Tox wiki (opens in new tab) there are currently 10 communication apps (or "clients") based on the Tox protocol. Each client has a different feature set, some allow video calling, some allow file transfer, some allow group chat etc. There are "official" clients for Linux, OS X and Windows called Venom, qTox, and uTox, respectively.

Read more: Tor creating "deep web" instant messaging service (opens in new tab)

The website also states that the protocol will "never harass you with ads, or require you to pay for features." And due to most of the developers remaining entirely anonymous it may be difficult to even send them money.

The Tox protocol has yet to be rigorously tested by security experts, but the protocol is based on the NaCl (pronounced "salt") crypto library which is highly regarded in the security community. Concerning the NaCl library, several security experts stated, (opens in new tab) "We do not expect any of them to be broken until someone succeeds in building a large quantum computer."