Monday, 17 October 2016

Use Onionshare To Securely Share Files Of Any Size...Free

Ever needed to share files with someone that were too big to email? Sometimes they may have even been too big to share through dropbox-style services.

What do you do if you need to share files with someone securely, or anonymously?

This is where OnionShare comes in, a free app that takes care of all these problems.

Onionshare makes sharing large files securely and anonymously (if you choose) a breeze, and it works with Windows, Mac, and Linux,

Before you can start sharing through OnionShare you need to start up a copy of TOR Browser. You don't have to go to any special website, it just has to be running to establish a connection to the TOR network. 

Next open OnionShare and it launches an easy to use graphical interface.

Drag and drop files/folders in to the OnionShare app, or use the "Add file" and "Add folder" buttons.

There is a check-box enabled by default to automatically stop sharing files. Leaving this enabled creates a self-closing door.

With the check box enabled all access to the files vanishes as soon as the recipient has downloaded them. (You will be able to see they downloaded the files and how long the download took.)


OnionShare works by starting a web server on your computer with an impossible to guess URL, and then makes it only accessible through The Onion Router (TOR) network.

Press the "Start Sharing" button once you've tagged all the items you want to share. OnionShare will take a moment to get things set up, you'll see a message saying "Crunching files".

Once everything is running the icon will turn green and there will be a "Stop Sharing" button. Below this is a complex random URL. To make it easy to share the location there is a "Copy URL" button which will copy the URL to your clipboard.

The recipient can only access the URL through TOR browser, so they will need to have it installed.

Entering the URL in TOR browser will bring up a download link to a zip file containing everything you shared, along with a list of it's contents.
 
If you leave the "Stop sharing automatically" box unchecked the service and files remain open to anyone who has the URL. This can be useful when you want to share the same files or folders with multiple people.

Because all the files/folders are forced through TOR it ensures it can't be intercepted in transit, or traced back to you, providing anonymity if you want it.

The recipient will only know who is providing the files if you've chosen to tell them the URL through a traceable channel, such as your regular email account. If you used an anonymous email account the trail back to you goes away completely.

Why would you want anonymity? Some people use this as part of whistle-blowing to provide evidence without fear of reprisal.

Personally I just find it a really handy way to transfer large volumes of data from one system to another on a different network if I don't happen to have a USB drive, or if I'm working with someone remotely and I need to get them a large amount of data without using a courier.

It's a great way for someone to provide large video files, useful if you have someone doing video editing for you, etc.

Since everything is encrypted through TOR in transit I don't have to worry about the contents being read or tampered with.

OnionShare isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for a way to securely give someone access to a large file or files it's definitely worth considering.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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