The Taphouse Cabal  

Using SSL

What is SSL?

SSL stands for secure sockets layer which is a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. It works by using a private key to encrypt data over the connection. You have probably already used SSL when making an online purchase, or doing online banking. If you want a more in-depth explanation of how SSL works, you can click here.

It is important to understand that when using IRC on a normal connection, the data is transmitted accross the internet in plaintext. This means that someone could intercept your conversation. If you would rather that your conversations were kept private, then you should connect using SSL.

Using SSL

The Taphouse servers are all connected to each other using SSL, and each one has a special port open to clients wanting to connect this way. This port is 6697. There are many clients capable of making SSL connections, here is a partial list:

  • BitchX
  • chatzilla (firefox plugin)
  • irssi
  • KVirc
  • Konversation
  • XChat
  • gaim/pidgin
  • Ksirc
  • Mibbit
  • mIRC(6.14 and above)

Since most people connect here using mIRC we will provide specific instructions for them. People using other clients should check the documentation for their client to see how to enable this feature.

Using mIRC

First you will need to download and install OpenSSL from here. Then you will need to restart mIRC. When mIRC starts up it will automatically find the openSSL install and be able to use it. Now all you need to do is configure it to connect to the server using the new port.

  1. Open the options menu, under TOOLS----OPTIONS
  2. From the list choose CONNECT---OPTIONS
  3. There is a new SSL button there, click it. Make sure that the check box at the top is checked: display certificates for approval...etc
  4. From the list choose SERVERS, and click on ADD
  5. Under IRC SERVER add:
  6. Under PORT add: +6697 (the plus sign is required for ssl)
  7. click on CONNECT TO SERVER
  8. You will see dialog box asking you to approve the certificate from the server, click ACCEPT

Once you are connected you can verify that you are connected via SSL by /whois on yourself, the dialog, IS USING A SECURE CONNECTION, will be seen.

Now that you are connected using SSL you can also create SSL channels, and only people who are also using SSL connections can join. To do this:

  1. Join a new channel ("/join #channel")
  2. Now type "/mode #channel +z" (where #channel is the name of the channel you made).

Now this channel is SSL-ONLY and anything said between people in here is encrypted to 256bits (online banking only uses 128bits so you are VERY secure).

Enjoy your sooper-seekrit communications.