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What is the level of security offered by gtalk against eaves-dropping?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

According to Wikipedia everything is encrypted except the HTTP connections.

The connection between the Google Talk client and the Google Talk server is encrypted, except when using Gmail's chat over HTTP, a federated network that doesn't support encryption, or when using a proxy like IMLogic.[8][9] End-to-end messages are unencrypted.[8] Google plans to add support for chat and call encryption in a future release.[10] Some XMPP clients natively support encryption with Google Talk's servers. It is possible to have end-to-end encryption over the GTalk network using OTR (off-the-record) encryption.

LifeHacker has an article on how this can be achieved using SSH.

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Layman's summary of this answer: With the default setup, Google knows everything that you're saying, but generally speaking nobody else does. So if you're worried about your neighbors or even your ISP listening in, you should be good, but if you're discussing something that you don't even want Google employees (or someone who has somehow gotten access to Google's computers), you should look at end-to-end encryption plugins for your chat client, e.g. the OTR plugin for Pidgin. –  Shane Sep 6 '09 at 23:26

Not guaranteed; Symantec IM Manager (formerly IMLogic) is able to store logs of all "corporate messaging" and includes support for Google Talk. Whether it covers the audio is not something I know about. If they can do it, there's probably multiple products and ad-hoc methods that can do it.

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