Tox, the end-to-end encrypted chat protocol commonly used on the dark web, and an introduction to client software based on the Tox protocol
Tox is a free peer-to-peer instant messaging and video telephony network protocol that enables encrypted data exchange. The goal of the project is to create a secure and easy-to-use communication platform. The reference implementation of the protocol is distributed as free and open source software under the terms of the GNU GPL-3.0 or later. the combination of Tox and Tor enables completely anonymous peer-to-peer communication under the dark web.
Tox began in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks of NSA espionage. The idea was to create an instant messaging application that would run without the use of a central server. The system would be distributed, peer-to-peer, and end-to-end encrypted, with no ability to disable any encryption; at the same time, the application could be easily used by amateurs with no knowledge of cryptography or distributed systems practices. in the summer of 2013, a small group of developers from around the world formed and began work on a library that would implement the Tox protocol. The library provided all messaging and encryption facilities and was fully decoupled from any user interface; to allow end users to use Tox, they needed a Tox client. Fast forward a few years to today, multiple independent Tox client projects exist, and the original Tox core library implementation continues to improve. tox (the core library and client) has thousands of users, hundreds of contributors, and the project shows no signs of slowing down.
Tox is a FOSS (Free and Open Source) project. All Tox code is open source and all development is public. Tox is developed by volunteer developers who spend their free time on it and believe in the idea of the project. tox is not owned by any company or any other legal organization.
Tox is easy to use for anyone. Choose any of the clients, no registration is required, just open it and start adding friends or give your friends your Tox ID so they can add you. You can find your Tox ID in the Settings tab.
On June 23, 2013, a user named irungentoo pushed the initial commit to GitHub: https://github.com/irungentoo/toxcore, which is the core code for Tox.
Tox protocol features
Users are assigned a public and private key, and they connect directly to each other in a fully distributed peer-to-peer network. Users can send messages to friends, join chat rooms with friends or strangers, voice/video chat, and send files to each other. all traffic on Tox is encrypted end-to-end using the NaCl library, which provides authenticated encryption and perfect forward secrecy.
Revealing IP addresses to friends
Tox does not hide your IP address when communicating with your friends, because the whole point of peer-to-peer networking is to connect you directly to your friends. A workaround does exist to establish a tunnel for Tox connections via Tor. However, non-buddy users cannot easily discover your IP address using only your Tox ID; you will only reveal your IP address to someone if you add them to your contact list.
Additional messaging features
Tox clients are designed to provide support for a variety of secure and anonymous communication features; while each client supports messaging, mobile and desktop clients support additional features such as group messaging, voice and video calling, voice and video conferencing, typing indicators, message reading receipts, file sharing, profile encryption, and desktop streaming to varying degrees. Additional features can be implemented in any client as long as the core protocol supports them. Features that are not related to the core network system are determined by the client. It is strongly recommended that client developers adhere to Tox client standards to maintain cross-client compatibility and uphold best security practices.
Usability as an instant messenger
While some applications using the Tox protocol appear similar in functionality to regular instant messaging applications, the current lack of a central server similar to XMPP or Matrix results in both chatting parties needing to be online to send and receive messages. Tox-enabled messengers handle this problem in different ways, with some preventing users from sending messages when the other party is disconnected, and others showing that a message is being sent while it is actually stored on the sender's phone waiting to be received when the sender reconnects to the network.
Commonly used client software based on Tox protocol
The following list shows the Tox clients that are still being maintained.
|qTox||Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Windows||C++ (Qt)||https://github.com/qTox/qTox|
|Toxic||Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, DragonflyBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, macOS, Android||C (Ncurses)||https://github.com/TokTok/toxic|
|Toxygen||Linux, Windows||Python (Qt via PySide)||https://github.com/toxygen-project/toxygen|
|TRIfA||Android||C, Java Active||https://github.com/zoff99/ToxAndroidRefImpl|
|µTox||Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Windows||C||https://github.com/uTox/uTox|
|yat||Linux, Windows, macOS||Vala||https://gitlab.com/neva_blyad/yat|
One of the more used clients is qTox, which has a lot of targeted propaganda.
Today, every government seems to be interested in what we say online. qTox is built on a "privacy first" agenda, and we don't compromise. Your security is our top priority, and nothing in the world can change that.
qTox is both free for you to use and free for you to change. You are completely free to use and modify qTox. In addition, qTox will never harass you with ads or ask you to pay for features.
qTox takes your privacy very seriously. With best-in-class encryption technology, you can rest assured that only the people you send your emails to will be able to read them.
From：On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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