Private communication hub


One of Mozilla's best projects for Firefox was Send, an inbuilt mechanism for sharing files securely and anonymously with other users. It was incredibly convenient if you wanted to send a document to a family member, or share even a large file with a group of friends. Unfortunately, this convenience came at a cost – both in terms of the interim storage used by Mozilla and because "some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear phishing attacks." Send development stopped, and the service was discontinued. Of course, there have always been alternatives, and one of our favorites is a command-line tool called Magic-Wormhole, which works brilliantly even across networks. But it does require both the sender and the receiver to use the command line, and they also both need a side channel in which the receiver's code word can be shared.

RetroShare is a Qt-based desktop application that solves this problem while adding secure and decentralized chat, group discussions, mail messaging, and forums into the mix. It does this through a friend-to-friend network protocol, which is basically a peer-to-peer network where your friends make up a chain of trust and users outside of your chain of trust on the same network are undiscoverable. It accomplishes this by asking you to create an account with your GPG ID, which then becomes visible to your friends so they can verify your identity via a certificate. After adding a contact or three, you can then make use of the various communication channels built into the app, from creating a chat room to choosing to share files with your friends or anonymous friends of friends. RetroShare can even use Tor v3 as the transport layer to help keep your transfers and communication as private as possible.

Project Website

RetroShare is the modern equivalent to old school P2P networks, only just with your friends and whatever you choose to share.

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