Although P2P was not specifically created with that purpose, it has facilitated online piracy and it has become a threat for copyright owners. P2P (peer-to-peer)technology allows users to share files without having to upload them to a third party server, which makes them less likely to be monitored by organizations reinforcing copyright, online surveillance agencies and law enforcement.
While P2P is widely used for sharing copyrighted material, it is also a valuable tool for journalists, activists and anyone who needs to transfer important information securely and without compromising their identity. Files are transferred between devices anonymously and with minimum chance of being intercepted.
The potential of P2P as a safe platform for sharing information was considered by Micah Lee, a technologist and crypto expert who works at Glen Greenwald’s investigative news site The Intercept. Privacy conscious owners recognize Greenwald for his involvement with Edward Snowden and the journalist played a crucial role in the revelations from the former NSA contractor.
During the process of contacting Snowden and obtaining information from him, Greenwald experienced issues finding a secure way to transfer files. This inspired Lee to build OnionShare, which aims to offer the highest level of security and anonymity when transferring data online. In this article, we’ll find out more about what OnionShare offers.
How does OnionShare Work?
OnionShare is designed as a lightweight, open source,P2P file sharing solution that allows you to share files of any size without compromising the security of your data or you anonymity. When you use popular filesharing services such as Mega or Dropbox, there is always a risk that law enforcements gets access to your information. However, OnionShare routes all data sent though the Tor network and it lets you bypass all third parties, ensuring that the files are transferred from one device to another anonymously.
When you use OnionShare, a web server is started and it can be accessed as a Tor hidden service. A URL that can’t be identified by third parties is generated(you can provide the URL to the files’ intended recipient through a secure communication option like Off-the-Record encrypted chat) and the files can be accessed and downloaded from there. It is not necessary to set up a server on the internet or to use a third party file sharing service. The file is hosted on your own device and a Tor hidden service is used to make the file available for certain time. OnionShare’s creator, Micah Lee has described the way the program works as 100 percent darknet.
Once the intended recipient of the file has downloaded it, you can simply cancel the web server so that the file is not available to anyone anymore. Alternatively, you can leave the server running, which will allow you to send files to multiple users.
The person who receives the file doesn’t even have to run OnionShare in order to access the information. However, they need to open the URL in Tor Browser to be able to receive it. The way in which OnionShare works ensures that the sender can keep their identity protected from anyone, even from the recipient.
OnionShare is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows and Linux and it supports a wide variety of languages and international Unicode filenames. The tool offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to drag and drop files easily. You can share multiple files and folders simultaneously and multiple users can also download files at the same time. The “unguessable URL” that is generated, will be copied to your clipboard automatically and you get visibility of the progress of the file transfer. Once the file transfer is completed, OnionShare is closed automatically in order to reduce the risk of attacks.
OnionShare offers a good option to enhance the level of security and anonymity when you send important information online. However, it is important to keep in mind that it requires users to be familiar with Tor and in terms of speed, it may not be the practical solution. Still, it is a solution worth trying when anonymity and privacy are crucial. You can download OnionShare from the following link https://onionshare.org