Enhancing End Users' Privacy: Leveraging Tor Hidden Services

18 Oct 2015 . category: tech . Comments
#privacy #tor

Tor (The Onion Router) is a free and open-source software used for anonymous communication and internet browsing. It routes traffic through a network of servers, making it difficult to trace the origin of the traffic. One of the most interesting features of Tor is the ability to create hidden services. A Tor hidden service is a web service that is only accessible within the Tor network. The only difference for the end user is that instead of a url, an onion address is used to reach the service.

Offerring a Tor hidden service helps improve the privacy of its end users, since their traffic is scramled within the Tor network before reaching a hidden service. In order to create your own hidden service, you first need to install Tor. Then, you need to declare the path where you want to place your service’s private and public keys, as well as its listening port in the torrc configuration file:

HiddenServiceDir /home/username/hidden-service/
HiddenServicePort 80

Once you have restarted the Tor service, you can find your service’s onion address (public key) in the HiddenServiceDir/hostname file. It’s important to note that if someone gets their hands on your private key, they become you and your hidden service. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your private key secure. To access your hidden service, simply fire up a Tor browser, paste the onion address and you’re live! Keep in mind that the first time you access the service, it may take a few minutes to respond.

While using Tor, you should be mindful of giving away your personal identifiable information due to human error. Additionally, there have been speculations about the NSA decrypting TLS, which may compromise the security of your hidden service. However, the benefits of Tor and its hidden services far outweigh the risks.


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