Share files securely and anonymously with OnionShare 2

2 min read
Lexie

Hi, I'm Lexie! I write about information security, Bitcoin, and privacy.

The OnionShare logo

We’ve been using OnionShare for a while at ExpressVPN and are quite excited to get our hands on the second version of Micah Lee’s convenient privacy tool.

Before OnionShare, sending files to a colleague online was either a massive pain, or required the use of services like Dropbox or Google, which would surveil, index, censor, and share files with governments and advertising partners.

OnionShare not only conveniently circumvents this problem but also adds an extra layer of anonymity with the Tor Network, meaning you’d be able to share files with people anonymously. All you need to send and receive files is the Tor Browser, which we strongly recommend anyway.

How OnionShare works

In short, OnionShare creates a web server on your computer and makes it accessible via an .onion site.

Once created, you will get a link to share with the intended recipient of the files, who only need to open it using the Tor Browser to download the content. By default, each file can only be downloaded once, but if you want to share it with the masses, you can disable this feature.

Share files with OnionShare screenshot

What’s new in OnionShare 2

OnionShare 2 not only lets you send files but also receive them.

Receive files with OnionShare screenshot

To receive files, enter the ‘Receive Mode’ on OnionShare. Once again, share the created link with your source, who can then upload the file through the Tor Browser. The files will appear in a folder on your hard drive.

You can also create a ‘public’ link that lets you receive from multiple parties, kind of like an anonymous mailbox for letters and packages.

But just like with any anonymous drop box, remember that people could send you anything. Make sure the files are not malicious, and ideally only open file types you trust, such as .txt, .pdf or .png. And even then, it might be prudent to open them in a Virtual Machine, or TAILS.

OnionShare receive mode screenshot

More new features in OnionShare 2

OnionShare 2 has plenty of other new features too, including:

  • The use of a sandbox environment for Mac OS
  • Use of next generation .onion addresses
  • Public mode
  • If OnionShare detects somebody is trying to guess your URL, it will close the server
  • Plenty of languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Japanese
  • Share files right from your Desktop

Get OnionShare 2 today

OnionShare is Free and Open Source Software. You can download it from their website or build it directly from the GitHub. Happy sharing!

Lexie is the blog's resident tech expert and gets excited about empowerment through technology, space travel, and pancakes with blueberries.