OnionShare, share files of any size safely

Onion Share about

In the next article we are going to take a look at OnionShare. This is an open source tool that will allow us share files. They are of the size that they are securely and anonymously through the Tor network. This utility starts a web server of its own on our local computer to store files instead of storing them in an exchange service like Dropbox, etc. It will then be sent to the Onion service to be temporarily accessible via the Internet.

The application will generate an indecipherable URL to access and download the files. What we will have to do is simply share the generated URL with the person who is going to download the file. If we are sending files with sensitive information, it is advisable that we use some other program to add an extra security point.

The person receiving the files does not need OnionShare and can download through Tor browser. Nowadays rare is the user of a computer equipment that does not know or did not hear about Tor Browser . This browser will allow users to navigate safely, privately and anonymously by implementing Onion routing at the application layer. Onion routing is a technique for anonymous communication over a computer network. OnionShare was also developed in the same way and allows us to use the Tor network to send files to anywhere in the world.

This is, perhaps, one of the best tools to share files safely via Internet. When we dig into it, we will see that OnionShare meets most of the requirements that are usually needed in these types of applications. If someone wants to know more about this project, they can inquire at the project website. On other occasions, this blog has already written about other good tools that may be interesting to share files safely over the internet. Some of them are Magic womhole y transfer.sh.

How to install OnionShare

We can easily install OnionShare on Ubuntu-based distributions and in many other Gnu / Linux distributions. For Debian / Ubuntu, we will be able to use the apt-get or apt command to install this tool. We will only have to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and write in it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:micahflee/ppa

sudo apt update && sudo apt install onionshare

If we do not want to add any repository to our team, we will be able to compile source code. We will be able to download this code from the project GitHub page.

How to use OnionShare

We can launch OnionShare from the applications menu. When the program opens, we will see a screen like the following one.

OnionShare main screen

When you start OnionShare by default, will establish the connection to the Tor network.

OnionShare test connection

To start sharing, we will simply have to drag and drop files and folders that we want to share with our friends. We can also add a file by clicking on the Add button.

OnionShare file share

Once we have added the files, we only have to press the button "Start Sharing”. Now we will have to wait a moment for the URL that we can share to be generated. You will get a URL similar to mine with .onion.

OnionShare file share available

This URL is the one that we can send to our friends / acquaintances via email, Facebook or WhatsApp, etc. I want to emphasize that we should make sure to add additional security when submitting files with sensitive information.

When we send the URL, the recipient user will have to open it through Tor Browser. The file download link will be displayed in .zip format. The user will also see the file size on a fairly simple page. You just have to click on the link and start the file download.

OnionShare shared url tor browser

When the download page appears, sharing will automatically be disabled. At the end of the download the URL will no longer be available. For this reason, it can be said that the files will only be able to be downloaded once.

How to use OnionShare in CLI

El using this tool in CLI it is quite simple and straightforward. We will simply have to write onionshare / path / to / file. OnionShare will take care of the rest.

OnionShare from the terminal

Once we obtain the URL, as can be seen in the previous screenshot, we will have to open the link in the Tor browser to download it.

In case you need help, we can resort to the one offered by the program by typing in the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

OnionShare help

onionshare -h

Uninstall OnionShare

We can easily remove this program from our computer. We will only have to open the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and write in it:

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:micahflee/ppa

sudo apt remove onionshare && sudo apt autoremove

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  1.   lerm said