Debian and Tor Services available as Onion Services
We, the Debian project and the Tor Project are enabling Tor onion services for several of our sites. These sites can now be reached without leaving the Tor network, providing a new option for securely connecting to resources provided by Debian and Tor.
The freedom to use open source software may be compromised when access to that software is monitored, logged, limited, prevented, or prohibited. As a community, we acknowledge that users should not feel that their every action is trackable or observable by others. Consequently, we are pleased to announce that we have started making several of the various web services provided by both Debian and Tor available via onion services.
While onion services can be used to conceal the network location of the machine providing the service, this is not the goal here. Instead, we employ onion services because they provide end-to-end integrity and confidentiality, and they authenticate the onion service end point.
For instance, when users connect to the onion service running at http://5ekxbftvqg26oir5wle3p27ax3wksbxcecnm6oemju7bjra2pn26s3qd.onion/ using a Tor-enabled browser such as the Tor Browser, they can be certain that their connection to the Debian website cannot be read or modified by third parties, and that the website that they are visiting is indeed the Debian website. In a sense, this is similar to what using HTTPS provides. However, crucially, onion services do not rely on third-party certificate authorities (CAs). Instead, the onion service name cryptographically authenticates its cryptographic key.
In addition to the Tor and Debian websites, the Debian FTP and the Debian Security archives are available from .onion addresses, enabling Debian users to update their systems using only Tor connections. With the apt-transport-tor package installed, the following three lines can replace the normal debian mirror entries in the apt configuration file (
deb tor+http://2s4yqjx5ul6okpp3f2gaunr2syex5jgbfpfvhxxbbjwnrsvbk5v3qbid.onion/debian jessie main
deb tor+http://2s4yqjx5ul6okpp3f2gaunr2syex5jgbfpfvhxxbbjwnrsvbk5v3qbid.onion/debian jessie-updates main
deb tor+http://5ajw6aqf3ep7sijnscdzw77t7xq4xjpsy335yb2wiwgouo7yfxtjlmid.onion/debian-security jessie/updates main
Likewise, Tor's Debian package repository is available from an onion service :
deb tor+http://apow7mjfryruh65chtdydfmqfpj5btws7nbocgtaovhvezgccyjazpqd.onion/torproject.org jessie main
Lists of several other new onion services offered by Debian and Tor are available from https://onion.debian.org and https://onion.torproject.org respectively. We expect to expand these lists in the near future to cover even more of Debian's and Tor's services.
This article was edited in March 2023 to update links and switch to v3 onion adresses.