Andareed writes: Ian Goldberg, co-creator of the Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR) protocol discusses OTR and its importance in today's world. Many instant messaging applications offer some form of encryption and authentication. However, most implementations are deficient. For example, Trillian's implementation is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Most implementations also use digital signatures to authenticate, providing proof that you sent a certain message. OTR is designed to provide authentication while ensuring deniability and perfect forward secrecy. Plugins for Pigin/GAIM, Trillian, MSN, and others are available at the OTR website. With the recent NSA wiretapping activities and increasing Big Brother presence, you can't afford not to use OTR.