ITMAGINATION encourages the use of tor for legal uses only, and to use it to safely connect to the internet in areas of war, such as Ukraine.
War in Ukraine is still underway. The Ukrainian nation is bravely fighting off the aggressors, as the whole world unites to aid the defenders, and imposing severe sanctions on Russia, and Belarus.
As protests in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other cities gain power, more and more people are being detained for standing against the regime. On the other side of the barricade, there are the people of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and numerous other cities that need to communicate with each other without the fear of exposing their identity, and their location.
Luckily, there are fairly simple solutions for everybody to hide themselves from the prying eyes of malicious third parties. One of them is TOR (The Onion Router). The idea goes back to mid 1990s, when people started to look for a way to protect their privacy online. In 1995, three researchers, David Goldschlag, Mike Reed, and Paul Syverson, at the U.S. Naval Research Lab (NRL), created the prototype of the network.
Yes. If you follow the rules of common sense, then there should be no way in which you will find yourself in danger. Of course, there are some attempts at anonymizing users, though they rarely work, and TOR is among the safest forms of communications in this scenario.
Regardless of your opinion on onions, the only tears here will be the tears of joy. TOR could be the most popular solution to circumvent censorship or staying safe while relaying news in times of war.
As always, it’s not without any drawbacks – do not expect websites to load quickly. Waiting until a video loads is not as pleasant as watching normal content, therefore most of the content on the .onion sites is heavily text-based.
So, how to set everything up?
Final recommendation is to enable the “Safer” setting in the privacy settings at about:preferences#privacy.
Consider enabling the option to “Block dangerous and deceptive content.”
Authorities in these two countries do not really like the freedom, and security that the network gives. This is why you need to complete some additional steps
You are faced with two options now. One is the easier one, and it pretty much just works. The second one requires following just a couple more steps. The choice between the two is yours to make, though if it’d be up to us, we would choose the simpler one.
The “It Just Works” Approach
Use a built-in “snowflake” bridge. Wait a few minutes for the connection. Yes, this approach will make you wait longer at first, though it is the simplest way to circumventing censorship.
The “I Don’t Mind A Couple Of Additional Steps” Approach
The second way is maybe more time-consuming; however, you should be able to connect to the network faster.
Click “Select All”, and copy them by right-clicking the selection, and clicking “copy”.
Here, we have to configure the browser to be able to use it. The steps will be similar to the ones for desktops.
Aaaaand we are in! What now?
If you are confused what to do, and what sites to visit, you may start at the Hidden Wiki at http://zqktlwiuavvvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion/. Content available there is family-friendly, and SFW. Moreover, there are no mythical Dark Web links there. Of course, it would be nice to have Google… Worry not, there is a worthy alternative in the form of DuckDuckGo at https://duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion/
If you have to share some confidential documents or materials with one of the publications or journalists, there is a website called “Secure Drop“. It’s available at http://sdolvtfhatvsysc6l34d65ymdwxcujausv7k5jk4cy5ttzhjoi6fzvyd.onion/, and the documents you share there will remain encrypted, and anonymous. If you need to share some text with the people in Ukraine, then of course ZeroBin is the choice for that. Available at http://zerobinftagjpeeebbvyzjcqyjpmjvynj5qlexwyxe7l3vqejxnqv5qd.onion/, it makes the text shared secure.
Furthermore, chatting over TOR is indeed possible. One of the options, Keybase, is a great example of a secure app. The service available at http://keybase5wmilwokqirssclfnsqrjdsi7jdir5wy7y7iu3tanwmtp6oid.onion/ is free of charge and safe.
If you are looking to read some news from one of the Western sources, then there are a couple of options for you: