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syncs OTR keys between different IM programs

Project description

KeySync - One key for all of your chat apps

There are many chat apps that support OTR encryption for verifying messages.
Many of us use multiple chat apps, including one for desktop and another for
mobile, or one for Mac OS X and another for GNU/Linux or Windows. The trust
relationships are only stored locally in the app in a format that is specific
to that app. Switching between all of them means that you have to manage your
trust relationships for each app that you use.

KeySync addresses this problem by allowing you to sync your OTR identity and
trust relationships between multiple apps, which eliminates the need to
re-establish those relationships on each new client/device. It currently works
with [ChatSecure] on Android, and [Pidgin], [Adium], and [Jitsi] on desktop.

Please note: KeySync does not make it easier to have simultaneous encrypted
chats with the same account logged into multiple clients or devices. There
are limitations in the OTR protocol that make this impossible.

How to sync

To sync between ChatSecure and your desktop apps, plug in your phone or device
via USB and run the sync. Or you can manually copy the `otr_keystore.ofcaes`
file over to your device's SD Card, where ChatSecure looks for it. Using
ChatSecure, you will need to scan the QRCode that KeySync shows you in order
to complete the sync. The `otr_keystore.ofcaes` file is encrypted to prevent
your private information from leaking out. That QRCode is the password to
your keystore, so do not share it with anyone.

If you have multiple chat apps that you use, or you are switching from one to
another, you can use KeySync to sync up the trust relationships between
multiple desktop apps. Here's how:

1. quit all of the chat apps that you want to
2. select whichever apps you want to sync
3. then run the sync

Now, open your chat apps and you should have synced trust! In case of
problems, it saved your original OTR files in place. They are named using a
long string of numbers that represent the time when they were backed up.

This is beta software, do not rely on it for strong identity verification. It
is unlikely to mess up so bad as to produce compromised private keys, but
anything is possible. Also, keep in mind that program is handling your
private OTR keys, so make sure that you don't copy, send or email the
`otr_keystore.ofcaes` file somewhere unsafe. All that said, testing
and feedback is greatly appreciated, so we can get it to the point where we
can trust it.

Adding apps to KeySync

This project has libraries for converting the various OTR file formats between
each other. We have focused on the two major versions: [libotr] format and [otr4j],
and then a few variants of those major formats. All OTR implementations can
be supported as long as they can be read and parsed by Python.

KeySync has preliminary support for Gajim and IRSSI, and it has a modular
architecture to allow for expansion. If you want to add an app that is not
already included, you just need to make a single python file that converts
between that app's OTR data format and the KeySync internal format (documented

Reporting bugs

We appreciate all feedback, be it bug reports, patches, pull requests, feature
requests, etc. Please add your bugs and requests to our issue tracker:

Email us at with questions, problems, etc., or
just to let us know that you are using KeySync and find it useful.


KeySync uses lots of Python modules to achieve a smooth syncing
experience. To see a complete list of python modules used on your
platform, see the `dependencies` list in Here are some of
the key libraries:

* BeautifulSoup 4 -
* psutil -
* pure-python-otr -
* pyasn1 -
* pycrypto -
* pyjavaproperties -
* pymtp -
* pyparsing -
* python-pgpdump -
* Python Imaging Library -
* qrcode -
* Tkinter -


We're working to get all packages into official Debian/Ubuntu/etc. releases,
in the meantime you can install KeySync by adding our PPA (fingerprint

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:guardianproject/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install keysync


If you want to install the dependencies because you're going to develop
KeySync, then install them manually with:

sudo apt-get install python-pyparsing python-pyasn1 python-potr python-pymtp \
python-pyjavaproperties python-beautifulsoup python-qrcode libmtp-dev \
python-pgpdump python-crypto python-psutil python-tk python-imaging-tk

For Debian, you can try using the Ubuntu PPA, with something like oneiric for
wheezy, and natty for squeeze:

deb oneiric main

Mac OS X

For Mac OS X, you can download the binary app from our website:

You use Brew, Fink, or MacPorts to install pip and virtualenv, then
use those tools to install KeySync (see the *pip+virtualenv install*

fink install pip-systempython26 virtualenv-systempython26
sudo port install py27-pip py27-virtualenv

For homebrew, see:

Once you have pip and virtualenv, then you can start to build the
whole thing. First follow the pip+virtualenv instructions below.
Then come back here and do the following in your virtualenv:

rm -rf build dist
pip install py2app
python py2app
ls dist/

If you are using py2app older than 0.7.4 on Mac OS X 10.6, then you
need to patch py2app to make it work with python2.6:

pip install --upgrade py2app
patch env/lib/python2.6/site-packages/py2app/ py2app-python2.6.patch


For Windows, you can download the binary app from our website:

Build instructions for Windows are in win32/ in the source folder.


Install these build dependencies locally, then follow the instructions for
pip+virtualenv below:

sudo yum install gmp-devel tk tkinter python-pillow python-pillow-tk

pip+virtualenv install

Activate your virtual python environment then run pip to install the dependencies:

virtualenv ./env
. env/bin/activate
pip install -e .

For a nice step-by-step HOWTO, see:

*Note*: Doesn't work on Windows! See win32/


Currently, the code allows for reading multiple file formats into a python
dictionary form. The only export method currently activated is for ChatSecure
format in a file called otr_keystore.ofcaes. To use, point the `keysync`
script the app that you want to read OTR info from, and it will generate
`otr_keystore` to send to ChatSecure on your Android device (run
`keysync --help` to see all currently available options).

keysync --input pidgin



~/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/Users/Default/otr.private_key
~/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/Users/Default/otr.fingerprints
~/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/Users/Default/Accounts.plist

Uses the standard libotr files and overall file format for
otr.private_key and otr.fingerprints. Account ID is stored as an
integer which must be referenced from the Accounts.plist to get the
actuall XMPP account name (e.g. Uses full word
descriptive tags for the various protocols, e.g. libpurple-oscar-AIM,
libpurple-Jabber, etc.


Uses the standard libotr files and overall file format for
otr.private_key and otr.fingerprints. Account IDs are used directly
in the libotr files. XMPP/Jabber Account IDs include the "Resource"
e.g. or


Uses the standard libotr file format and files, but names the files
differently, basically abbreviated versions of the libotr names.
Account IDs are used directly in the libotr files.


Same as irssi



All OTR information is stored in a single Java .properties
file. Private keys, public key fingerprints, and verification status
are each individual properties. This format also includes the
storage of the remote public keys, unlike libotr. [otr4j]
implementations load the remote public key from the store rather
than always getting it from the OTR session.

Mac OS X
~/Library/Application Support/Jitsi/
~/Library/Application Support/Jitsi/contactlist.xml
~/Application Data/Jitsi/
~/Application Data/Jitsi/contactlist.xml

All app settings are stored in a single Java .properties file,
including OTR information. Private keys, public key fingerprints,
and verification status are each individual properties.


pure-python-otr is pure python implementation of the OTR spec. It
includes newer features like Socialist Millionaire's Protocol. The
private key is stored in a separate file per-account. The
fingerprints are stored in the same tab-separated-value format as
[libotr] but with a fingerprint file per-account.

~/Application Data/Gajim/

The private key is serialized in a custom format: p, q, g, y, x, written
consecutively to a file as MPIs. See


KeyCzar stores keys in JSON files with two different formats: 0.5b and
0.6b. It uses a special base64 encoding with a URL-safe alphabet:
- replaces +
_ replaces /

"q": The DSA subprime
"p": The DSA prime
"g": The DSA base
"y": The DSA public key exponent
"size" : The size of the modulus in bits
"publicKey": The JSON representation of the corresponding DsaPublicKey
"x": The secret exponent of this private key
"size" : The size of the modulus in bits

"x509": A WebSafeBase64 encoded X509 representation
"pkcs8": A WebSafeBase64 encoded PKCS#8 representation of the private key
"publicKey": A WebSafeBase64 encoding of the key's corresponding DsaPublicKey


A ZID record stores (caches) ZID (ZRTP ID) specific data that helps
ZRTP to achives its key continuity feature. Please refer to the ZRTP
specification to get detailed information about the ZID.

ZRTP key types:
2048 bit Diffie-Helman values
3072 bit Diffie-Helman values
256 bit Diffie-Helman elliptic curve
384 bit Diffie-Helman elliptic curve


Here are some notes on how things are implemented in KeySync.

Internal key storage

The key idea in the implementation is to get everything into a common format
internally. That common format can then be handed to any class for a given
program, which knows how to output it to the correct file format. The current
internal data format is a dict of dicts representing a key, called 'keydict'.
So first, you have a dict representing a given account with a given key
associated with it. This account name is used as the unique ID. Then the
whole collection of keys, both local private keys and remote public keys, are
collected in meta dict with the account name as the key and the whole dict as
the value. This format allows for easy merging, which enables syncing between

Sample structure in python dict notation:

keydict = {
'userid': {
'fingerprint': 'ff66e8c909c4deb51cbd4a02b9e6af4d6af215f8',
'name': 'userid',
'protocol': 'IRC',
'resource': 'laptop', # the XMPP "resource"
'verification': 'verified', # or 'smp' for Socialist Millionares
'p': '<p value>', # public part of the DSA key
'q': '<q value>', # public part of the DSA key
'g': '<g value>', # public part of the DSA key
'x': '<x value>', # core of private DSA key
'y': '<y value>', # core of public DSA key
'userid2' : { ... },
'useridn' : { ... }

Protocol IDs

Unfortunately each app has its own string IDs to represent the different IM
protocols. KeySync uses the Pidgin IDs internally. KeySync is currently
focused on the widely deployed common standards of XMPP and IRC. We welcome
contributions for working with the other protocols. These are the IDs that are
currently working throughout:

prpl-bonjour XMPP Bonjour (serverless XMPP with mDNS discovery)
prpl-irc IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
prpl-jabber XMPP (Jabber)

Here is the full list of IDs from Pidgin:


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