Good and Geeky

Onion Share
David Allen Wizardgold

David Allen Wizardgold

How to Be Good and Geeky One Step at a Time

How To Move Files With OnionShare

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Good and geeky
Send and Receive Files Securely. Using OnionShare is one of the most secure ways to send and receive files. Easy to set up and use. Your recipient doesn't need OnlyShare, only the Tor Browser.

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.

Install OnionShare

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

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.
Or Receive Files
You Trust the other person to send safe files
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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

For the most part you can leave the settings as they are. If you have a file which is meant to be downloaded many times you will want to change to Public Mode. If someone ties to guess the random ‘Slug’ part of the link too many times OnionShare thinks it’s an attack. It will shut down the service for that share. (The slug is a random, very difficult to guess set of letters and numbers) There are settings to use for auto-start and auto-stop. If you wanted to have the file only available for a specific time period . Such as between 15:00 and 17:30. Useful for a deadmans switch. So a leak of a file could occur if anything happens to you. If you are not there to turn it off, the file goes to the recipient. Like being in a spy movie, how cool is that? There is setting which only allows the files to be downloaded once.

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.

Buy the Book

One way of staying safe is to avoid using email. Sending email is the equivalent of putting your private data onto a postcard. The postcard (email) can be read easily as it passes through the postal system. Your information is naked and without protection. There are illicit sniffer applications which look at email as it goes through servers. Similar to the Google email system which looks to see what adverts it should put in front of you. That’s why you get a free service from Google. You are the product being sold to the advertisers.

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