Note: Riot Messenger is renamed to Element Matrix Client (https://element.io)
The secure and Open Source Riot messenger
We at EURAFRI believe in privacy of data and protecting data and communication as good as possible. Nobody is interested in others spying or reading unencryptet or fake end-to-end encrypted communication. The fonders of EURAFRI use the Open Source Riot messenger for a long time for all of their communication. Riot is the multi device in sync chat, voice and video client to Matrix.org based servers. Riot is available as free Open Source software in 25 languages on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, IOS, LineageOS.
The main difference to other messengers is that everybody is able to operate an own server and connet it to the Matrix based network. Think like emails. Serious companies operates an inhouse email server in their basement, others uses hosted solutions and some private users creates accounts on freemail servers.
Riot/Matrix is same, thousands of companies operate their own so called homeserver connected to the Matrix network. Others use public servers. Communication of users of the same homeserver does not leave this server. If other users are involved in communication only their homeserver is added to the communication chain. No central data-miner can collect data and build profiles of users.
End-to-end encryption can be enabled for every room, 1:1 or group chat. If the room is encrypted also voice calls are encrypted. You are able to add unlimited devices, e.g. desktop, mobile, tablet and they are all in sync. Fully anonymous in regards of phone number. No phone number or email is required to register an account on public servers. Riot only communicates with the server and other clients do not see the IP address of others. It even works using Riot client via Tor network to connect to the server.
Based on the great experience the great IT guys of our platinum sponsor https://cts-solutions.at have setup a matrix server for all EURAFRI members. Even more they included the server into the SAML Single Sign On Solution they built for us as we created the EURAFRI organization. Based on this setup every EURAFRI member has a valid Riot account on the matrix.eurafri.com server.
Your address on matrix.eurafri.com is @yourloginname:matrix.eurafri.com
How does it work?
First of all you have to download and setup the Riot messenger software on one or more of your devices. Download it from https://about.riot.im/ here or from the software store of your device!
We will use the Desktop version for this tutorial. Setup Riot, start it and your are greeted with this screen.
Click on sign in to continue. On the next screen we have to change the default homeserver from matrix.org to the EURAFRI members homeserver matrix.eurafri.com. Click on Change.
then click next.
The warning “Cannot reach identity server You can log in, but some features will be unavailable until the identity server is back online. If you keep seeing this warning, check your configuration or contact a server admin.” is ok and you can safely ignore it.
On the next screen click on Sign in with single sign-on
and you are transfered to the login page you already know from logging into the forum. Please enter username (not email) and password of your EURAFRI membership.
After that you will find yourself within Riot messenger which is empty for now. Open the menu drop down and enter settings.
It is suggested to enter your Display Name and upload an image of you. Do not change any password here, because you work with single sign on. Change password only on mm.eurafri.com! You may lose access.
After completing this step you should set the notifications to your requirements
and recheck your accounts preferences.
The next step is really required and you can lose your encrypted communications if you lose your keys. Nobody is able to recover it and all encrypted communication is also saved encrypted on the server. Ask in the room of your district if you have problems with it! REMEMBER NOBODY CAN HELP YOU IF YOU LOSE YOUR KEYS!
Backing up your encryption keys
Still in the settings choose Security and Privacy and klick “Start using Key Backup” to regulary and automatically save your keys to the server.
Enter a really secure passphrase with a minimum of 12 characters, numbers and special characters like §!%. You need to remember the passphrase to recover your keys if something happens!
The password bar should say Great!
Finally after confirming the passphrase you are provided with an additional recovery key, which helps you in case you lost the password! Really download or save this key!
Finally it should say “Success!”. Confirm with OK. In case you run into display problems in the long run you should clear the cache and reload.
Now we are done with the primary setup. From now on you can add other devices or start chatting with people or groups. If you add a new device the old device puts up a question to verify that this device is yours. Till now, use legacy verification and confirm that its yours.
Chatting with people 1:1
All communications within Riot are rooms. Open as much as you like but suggestion is to have only one per person in 1:1 chat and different rooms for project or discussion to keep it tidy.
Starting a chat with EURAFRI founder Karl works by clicking the + sign near people and entering Karl’s address @karl:matrix.eurafri.com in the start a chat box.
Click “Start Chat” invites Karl to chat with our test user.
On Karl’s side a notification shows that we invited him and as soon as he accepts the invitation, he is moved from invited to room members.
We strongly recommend to enable the encryption in all rooms except public chat rooms. This way communication is stored end-to-end encrypted and nobody except the communication partners can read the chat. In Riot/Matrix there is no Key injection possible, so hidden reading on the server, like used by some other services, is impossible. Privacy as privacy should be.
Use the room settings button, and enable encryption in the room.
If all is done it should say “Send an encrypted message” in the message box.
To be sure no one is reading your messages and there is no key injection you should confirm the contacts devices to make sure you see if there is an device change. This will change soon to only confirm the user, not his devices, so we skip this section.
To confirm the devices click on the user in the room list, go to his device list and confirm (use legacy confirmation at the moment) each device.
Otherwise you must send with “send anyway” to confirm to send to unverified devices. Recommendation is to confirm devices of 1:1 chats and ignore it in bigger group chats.
Chatting in public rooms
Riot/Matrix supports public rooms and a room directory. Please note the opening rooms named district, ambassador or similiar is prohibited for users. These rooms must be allowed by EURAFRI core team. Do not even try it, you may get banned. We open rooms for different district, so members can join them. But there must be a district leader already.
You find the room directory under “Explore”. Rooms listed here are open to all members.
Click Join to enter a room. The room is listed under rooms now and you see the people in the room. If you use Riot longer you will have a lot of rooms and people in your list. The ones with new messages are moved on top of the list so you will not miss communication.
Enjoy chatting with other members. For sure you are able to chat with all users of the Matrix Network as long as you have their address @name:server.domain. Riot is used by millions of people and also some governments, like in france, moves to Matrix/Riot. Be part of the future of privacy focused communication.
Group chats work in the same way, except that the room is not listed in the room directory. Somebody can invite you into a room, or if you created the room you can invite others to it.
Create a room by clicking on the + sign near “Rooms”, add the name and open the room.
Using the room settings button you are able to set name, description and upload a room image. Lot of other settings, including room permissions, who is admin, moderator, user and which permissions are required to post or invite. Go through it to see all features. At least enable encryption!
Right clicking on room or people lets you mark them as Favourite or Low Priority and set the way you are notified in this room.
Invite others using the invite room button.
Hopefully this tutorial is helpful for you and we are sure you will like Riot as much as we do. Great features and privacy as privacy should be are definitely the future of communication.
Riot is a huge part of secure business ciommunication within EURAFRI members. Be part of it!
Furthermore do not forget to subscribe to our newsletter!