Speek! is a new encrypted chat service that uses Tor to offer secure communication

If you’re looking for an encrypted chat service for nearly any platform, Jack Wallen believes Speek! might be just what you need.

Image: Thapana_Studio/Adobe Stock

Is your communication safe? Are you certain? Does the tool you use encrypt and anonymize your discussion and offer self-destructive chats, not require signup, not use metadata, run without a centralized server and add private file sharing?

Chances are pretty slim that the service you use can’t match those privacy  features. Speek!, on the other hand, does.

This new service is a cross-platform chat tool that is open-source, free to use and secured by the Tor network. You can install Speek! on Linux, macOS and Android to enjoy peer-to-peer instant messaging that can be trusted.

But Speek! isn’t quite like the chat apps and services you are used to. Let me explain how it works.

SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

You can install Speek! on just about any platform, but I’m going to demonstrate it on Pop!_OS Linux as Speek! only offers an AppImage for Linux.

How to install Speek!

On Linux, you don’t actually install Speek!. Instead, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the Speek! AppImage file into your ~/Downloads directory.
  2. Open a terminal window.
  3. Change into the directory housing the Speek.Chat-XXX-x86_64.AppImage file (where XXX is the release number).
  4. Give the file executable permissions with the command chmod u+x Speek.Chat-*-x86_64.AppImage.

That’s it for the “installation” on Linux. To run Speek!, you can either open your OS file manager and double-click on the AppImage, or run it from the terminal with the command:

~/Downloads/Speek.Chat-XXX-x86_64.AppImage

Where XXX is the release number.

If you want to be able to launch the Speek! app from any directory, copy the file to /usr/local/bin with the command:

sudo cp ~/Downloads/Speek.Chat-XXX-x86_64.AppImage /usr/local/bin/speek

Where XXX is the release number.

If you go the second route, you could launch Speek! from the command line (from any directory) with the command:

speek

How to use Speek!

On first run of Speek!, you’ll be asked to either launch Speek! with the default settings (Figure A) or configure the advanced settings.

Figure A

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Launching Speek! with the default settings will work in most situations.

If you click Advanced Network Configuration, you can configure the following options:

  • Proxy type
  • IP address (or hostname)
  • Port
  • Username and password
  • Allowed port range
  • Bridge relays

Once Speek! has successfully connected, you’ll be presented with the main window, which is pretty blank out of the box (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The Speek! main window is very simple to understand.

Since you don’t sign up for an account, you’re probably wondering how you communicate with others. Click the menu button in the top left corner, and then select View Speek! ID. This will open a window that includes a long string of random characters. That is the Speek! ID you share with others.

Once you’ve received other Speek! IDs click the menu and then click Add Contact. In the resulting window (Figure C), paste the Speek! ID, give the contact a name and click Add.

Figure C

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Adding a new contact in Speek!.

After adding a new contact, you can then communicate with them via the Tor network without worrying your discussions will be read by a third party. I’ve found this WhatsApp and Session alternative to be quite easy to use and reliable from start to finish.

And that’s pretty much all there is to installing and using the encrypted Speek! chat platform. If you’re looking for the means to secure your communications, this might be just the thing you need.

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