OnionShare – Tool to share any size of files securely and anonymously

When we wrote an article about file sharing utilities such as Magic Womhole & transfer.sh most of the users asked is it secure? and where the files are stored.

So, we decided to bring one of the best utility that stores and share files securely over the Internet. When we dig on that, we came to know about OnionShare which fulfill all this requirements.

How can we saying, it falls under this category? Yes, it’s true because most of us know about Tor Browser which allows users to browse securely, privately and anonymously by implementing Onion routing in the application layer. Onion routing is a technique for anonymous communication over a computer network.

OnionShare also developed in the same manner and allows you to use the Tor network to send files anywhere in the world.

Suggested Read :
(#) Magic Wormhole – A Simple And Secure Way To Send Files From Linux Command Line
(#) Transfer.sh – Easy And Fast Way to Share Files From The Command-Line

What is OnionShare

OnionShare is an open source tool that allows you to share any size of files securely and anonymously through Tor network. It’s kick start own web server in local computer to store files instead of storing a files in third party file sharing service like Dropbox, etc, then use Tor onion service to make it temporarily accessible over the internet.

It generating an non guessable URL to access and download the files. What you have to do, just share the secret URL to the person who’s going to download, If you’re sending secret files, I would advise you to use Steghide to add one more security. The person who is receiving the files doesn’t need OnionShare and it can be downloaded through Tor Browser.

How to install OnionShare

We can easily install OnionShre to Fedora, Ubuntu based distributions & Arch Linux based distributions rest of the users needs to build from source.

For Debian/Ubuntu, use APT-GET Command or APT Command to install onionshare.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:micahflee/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install onionshare

For Fedora, use DNF Command to install onionshare.

$ sudo dnf install onionshare

For Arch Linux based systems, use Yaourt Command or Packer Command to install onionshare from AUR repository.

$ yaourt -S onionshare
$ packer -S onionshare

If your distribution doesn’t offer OnionShre package, then you have to build from source.

How to use OnionShare

Launch OnionShare from application menu, you can see the output similar to below screen shot.

When you launch the OnionShare by default it will establish the connection with Tor Network.

Just drag and drop files and folders you wish to share with your friends or you can add a file by clicking an Add button.

Once you have added the files, hit Start Sharing button. Allow a moment to generate an Onionshare unguessable URL.

Once the Onionshare is ready, you will get an URL similar to mine with .onion.

Send this URL to your friend through email or Facebook or WhatsApp, etc. Make sure you have added additional security when you’re sending secret files.

Just paste the URL into Tor Browser and hit enter, then it will show you the download link with .zip format and contents of zip file which including file size on pretty plain page. Click the link and download your .zip.

When the download page appears, it will automatically disable sharing then the URL will no longer be available.

How to use OnionShare in CLI

It’s pretty straight forward when you use in CLI. Just type onionshare /path/to/file  rest it will take care.

$ onionshare /home/magi/Downloads/display-color-man-pages-in-linux.png
Onionshare 1.1 | https://onionshare.org/
Connecting to the Tor network: 100% - Done
Configuring onion service on port 17606.
Starting ephemeral Tor onion service and awaiting publication
Preparing files to share.
 * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)
Give this URL to the person you're sending the file to:

Press Ctrl-C to stop server - - [10/Oct/2017 06:14:11] "GET /reappear-whimsical HTTP/1.1" 200 - - - [10/Oct/2017 06:14:12] "GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1" 200 - - - [10/Oct/2017 06:14:13] "GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1" 200 - - - [10/Oct/2017 06:14:33] "GET /reappear-whimsical/download HTTP/1.1" 200 -
39.5 KiB, 100.00%          
Closing automatically because download finished

Open the link in Tor browser to download.

Navigate to help page to know more options.

$ onionshare -h
Onionshare 1.1 | https://onionshare.org/
usage: onionshare [-h] [--local-only] [--stay-open] [--stealth] [--debug]
                  filename [filename ...]

positional arguments:
  filename      List of files or folders to share

optional arguments:
  -h, --help    show this help message and exit
  --local-only  Do not attempt to use tor: for development only
  --stay-open   Keep onion service running after download has finished
  --stealth     Create stealth onion service (advanced)
  --debug       Log application errors to stdout, and log web errors to disk

If you are looking for self hosted file sharing then try OwnCloud or NextCloud.

Suggested Read :
(#) ownCloud Installation and Configuration
(#) NextCloud Installation and Configuration

If you are looking for Free Online cloud storage, Navigate to below links.

Suggested Read : Free Cloud Storage

About Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

View all posts by Magesh Maruthamuthu

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