Using OnionShare to Cut out the Server
In the book ‘Stop Using Email’ I recommend a couple of ways of sharing files securely. One of those is Firefox Send, another one is to use Tresorit. Or you could encrypt the files before you send them by email, if you are still using email. You can also move files across the Internet using secure end-to-end encryption in message apps Signal, Threema, Wire are three good examples of this type of application. These applications rely upon the use of a server. However, there is a way you can securely and anonymously share your files without a separate server or third party file sharing service.
If you go to the OnionShare website you can download the application for your operating system. There are versions for Mac OS, Windows and various flavours of Linux. The application is easy to install and get working. How to use Onionshare When you are ready to send files, you drag-and-drop files or folders into the application. Or you can use the buttons Add Files or Add Folder to put your files into Onion Share. When you are ready, click on the big green button ‘Start sharing’. Just give it a moment and you will get a link for your recipient to use in the Tor Browser. Each time you setup a share you get a unique new link. The files are hosted on your own computer.
How to use Onionshare
Use The Tor Browser
The people who make the Tor browser and OnionShare care deeply about security and privacy. By cutting out the server in the middle you are adding another layer of security. You can still encrypt the files and folders before you send them. If you are going from Mac to Mac I recommend using Encrypto. Going to other platforms it’s probably better to use OpenPGP.
There’s a Tor browser for Windows, Mac and Linux desktop platforms and also one for Android. It’s a pity there isn’t one for the iOS platform. By using the Tor browser you can guard against tracking, surveillance and censorship. It’s well worth having this browser as part of your arsenal of defences to use on the Internet.
Onion Share Settings
Receive Files with Onion Share
Normally when we are talking about sharing files we are looking at it from the point of the person sharing. With OnionShare we can set it up to give a link to someone to use in the Tor browser for them to send us files. You give someone the link and it gives them a direct line to send a file to your computer. You need to have complete trust in the person sending you the files. You wouldn’t want to give this URL/link to someone who could send you a malicious file. Same as when sending files, it is direct to your computer without being stored in any servers along the way.
Another way to set up something similar would be to use FlowCrypt. Using FlowCrypt you have a webpage you can send somebody to, into which they submit text and or files. You have the end to end encryption provided by OpenPGP. You are in control of the Private/secret key. So you could say it’s just as secure as using Onion Share.