Overview – CIA Sets Up An Onion Site
“First, go to https://www.torproject.org and follow the instructions to download and install the Tor browser on your computer. Be sure to verify the package’s digital signature before installing. Then, from the Tor browser, navigate to CIA’s onion site by pasting our address, ciadotgov4sjwlzihbbgxnqg3xiyrg7so2r2o3lt5wz5ypk4sxyjstad.onion, in the browser. You’re now browsing our onion site anonymously!”
This excerpt has been taken directly from the CIA’s official web site. On the site, an onion site is announced to let users connect to CIA anonymously via CIA’s onion site over the Tor network.
Announcement further states: “When contacting us via our onion site over the Tor network, this contact is truly anonymous. So, be sure to provide accurate contact information if you want a response.”
What is Tor?
Tor is an anonymity network that can be accessed via a special browser, like the Tor Browser, using its own URL scheme. The goal is to hide the IP addresses of its users (anonymity) in addition to encrypting (secrecy) the traffic while browsing online.
Tor (The Onion Router) was developed during the early 2000s by Naval Research Lab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through funding from the United States. After its public release in 2002, it has transformed into what is now known as Tor Project, an open source anonymity service project.
Since its creation, due to its benefits of being secure, anonymous and untraceable, Tor network has gained popularity criminals and for this reason it has gained at some level bad reputation. Tor network has been also used by civil liberties activists to overcome any censorship and restrictions applied in some countries.
Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn’t be the price we accept for just getting on the Internet.Gary Kovacs
Read more educational and inspirational cyber quotes at our page 100+ Best Cyber Security & Hacker Quotes.
Why CIA Sets Up An Onion Site?
Governments and institutions can also benefit from using the anonymity service in the same way criminals do. Over the years, several organizations, like Facebook and The New York Times, have set up their own onion sites to take advantage of the anonymity feature provided by the onion network.
For the CIA case, everything that is available on on CIA’s main website is also available on its onion site. This could allow anyone to communicate with CIA both in secrecy and anonymity to send information to the agency, use the services provided by web site without being detected, or even make job applications to the agency quitely.
To learn more about Tor, you could also read our article What Is Tor?