I learnt about Kik Messenger today. It's like a cross between IM and text messaging. It was launched only a couple of weeks ago and already has a million users. There are clients for Android, iPhone and Blackberry. I decided to take a peek at how the app communicates with the Kik service, so I connected my phone to my Wifi and fired up Wireshark.
Kik has been built using XMPP, without any encryption. I sniffed this off the wire when logging in:
<query xmlns="jabber:iq:register"> <username>USERNAME</username> <password hashed="false">PASSWORD</password> <device-id>DEVICE-ID</device-id> </query> <query xmlns="jabber:iq:register"> <node>USERNAME_yhm</node> <email confirmed="true">EMAIL-ADDRESS</email> <username>USERNAME</username> <first>FIRST-NAME</first> <last>LAST-NAME</last> </query>I sniffed this when sending a message:
<message type="chat" to="RECIPIENTS-USERNAME_wti@talk.kik.com" id="********"> <body>THE-PLAIN-MESSAGE-CONTENT</body> <kik push="true" qos="true" timestamp="1289087937787" /> <request xmlns="kik:message:receipt" r="true" d="true" /> </message>So anyone listening gets your username, password, full name, email address and the content of your conversations. I personally wouldn't use Kik over an untrusted network because of this. I'm not completely paranoid though so I'll happily use it over 3G; just not over an open wifi access point in a public place. If you are going to use Kik over an untrusted network, make sure you use a password which is unique to the service. I'm sure a significant number of people are already using Kik with the same login credentials as they use for Facebook.
I've opened a couple of topics on their GetSatisfaction support page. Feel free to "like" them so they get more attention:
Secure Kik with encryption
OTR for private conversations
UPDATE (June 2011):
Kik 5.1 has just been released and it uses SSL with proper certificate verification
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