The Secure Competitor to Skype: Tox, a tool developed by Hackers!
Date: 2014-12-04 10:31:12
By: Kevin Kutlesa
Who ever said Hackers could only do bad things? Pretty much everyone on the planet but not only is it a misconception that disregards the existence of White Hats, benign hackers, but is also blind to the fact that people behind some of the best online safety tools are or were hackers at some point. They understand the reality of online security or the lack thereof to be more precise and it’s because of this that most of their community strive to help others.
You might be wondering what my point in all of this is. It’s Tox, a new hacker-developed video chat service, and one that is not only security-focused but is quickly becoming Skype’s greatest competitor (or threat).
The desire for its creation came right after Wikileaks reports revealed just how much the NSA was involved in obtaining private information from online users. For its creators, it became an almost immediate goal to find a safer alternative to Skype, so people wouldn’t run the risk of having their private conversations read or seen by others.
Developed by a group of 4chan members, an online community known for being one of the most hostile places on the net, Tox attempts to provide a “privacy first” approach to video messaging. It’s creators state that Tox is privacy first, and it does this by connecting users directly aka P2P or Peer-to-Peer, the same way users already download off each other with the Bittorrent protocol. This saves the developers the need to have centralized servers to handle the communication between the users, servers that can be compromised.
But what makes this application Skype’s greatest threat is the fact its creators are specifically targeting it, developing features existing in the other application, so as to provide the same service, effectively one-upping Skype in everything it does.
But while that is true, Tox is still not at the stage where it can confidently state that it has surpassed Skype. Group chat is possible in the current clients but no voice chats, and it’s also impossible as of now to be online with the same account in two different devices. For example, you can’t be on Tox with your mobile and your computer with the same account at the same time, which is one thing you can do with Skype.
And while the developers claim and have defended their position as self-sufficient, the link to 4Chan is currently doing them more harm than good, because of the online community’s bad reputation. On the upside, and which in many ways prove Tox’s developers are not only well intentioned but also on the user’s side, they have state they will never charge money for their product. It will remain free and open source for everyone to use. The open source nature does bring about the usual problem: there are hundreds of implementations so it’s difficult to keep track of which one to use or which one is “official.”
But Tox is slowly gaining ground and the developers have proofs of concept on how to implement all the features they need to topple the mighty Skype, and when they do, then it might be time to say goodbye the big blue S and jump headfirst into the world of Tox.
Do you want to try Tox? Click here and try it: Tox
And hit us in the comments with your opinions!
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