An app that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Edward Snowden sounds interesting doesn't it? Well the Onionshare filesharing app might sound very cloak-and-dagger as it allows you to share files anonymously, but in some ways it is rather sensible compared to how much personal data we often need to surrender to providers like Dropbox.
Maybe you just want to send a photo or special message without worrying that it is unseen by unwanted eyes or you just don't fancy giving up your email address to potential spammers. The guy behind it Micah Lee works for The Intercept, and just released Onionshare on Github as a simple, free app for sending files securely and anonymously.
His boss Glenn Greenwald had gotten into a hairy situation trying to get classified documents from controversial figure Edward Snowden and Lee decided to make something that would make such an exchange easier.
Is it secret? Is it safe?
The app doesn't run on Windows or OS X...directly. It runs in the special Tor-based operating system Tails, which can be launched virtually on Windows or Mac machines.
What you need is just to use Onionshare on Tails. The app will create a password-protected, temporary website hosted on Tor and then send it to a recipient. What happens next? The recipient visits said URL in a Tor Browser and downloads the file from the website, which is temporary and untraceable. Whoever is the target receiver of a file does not even need to have Onionshare installed.
“As soon as the person has downloaded the file, you can just cancel the web server and the file is no longer accessible to anyone,” Lee said to Wired. He hopes to have other people look at the code to figure out how to improve it as it is currently barebones at the moment.
Lee does caution that while Onionshare gets past physical searches, the Internet itself is continually being searched thus why we need encryption on the Internet in the first place.
This is a fairly useful app to have around for people living in countries with high amounts of Internet surveillance or for the more paranoid among us. With big websites continually reporting the need to change passwords due to security compromises, maybe it is better to be safer than sorrier later.