CIA Set Up an Onion Site – Here’s How to Find It
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) launched a dark web website to expand and improve communications. The CIA launched a new website on the Tor network, also known as onion site or service. The new CIA onion website contains all the same information that the current CIA.gov website does. However, like all onion sites, users can browse the CIA’s Tor website anonymously. Both the surface website and the darknet Tor website look the same. The onion site must be accessed via secure browsers like Tor Browser.
Like other Tor websites, the CIA’s new onion site cannot be accessed using traditional web browsers. The CIA onion site users can also use the site to contact the CIA anonymously and without being tracked.
What is an Onion Site?
Onion is a top-level-domain that use the .onion suffix for its websites. Onion addresses end in .onion rather than .com, .net, .org etc… They are accessed via the Tor network. Their web addresses (URLs) are generally long strings of alpha-numeric characters but can have words in them. Both the information provider (website) and the web user are protected because data is encrypted and hard to trace. Onion sites do not return the server’s IP address which would, in turn, reveals the server’s network location. There are thousands of online sites, some are public like the new CIA onion site. But thousands are private and Tor users must know the address to find it.
What is a Tor Site?
The internet that the average person knows is referred to as surface web or clearnet. Deep web sites are not indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing. The dark web or darknet is part of the deep web. Tor is the largest darknet and its sites use the .onion suffix.
What is Tor Browser?
Tor web browser is a web browser that is used to surf the internet privately. It can be used to surf any website and is no more difficult to use than Google Chrome or Apple Safari. Tor is a free and open source browser developed by the Tor Project which is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The latest stable release is Tor Browser 8.5a12.
The name “Tor” is short for The Onion Router. The web browser uses a network of relays developed by the US Navy to encrypt to hide government intelligence communications. Tor Browser is effective at hiding users’ locations and preventing their online activity from being tracked back to its source. Tor Browser users are protected against tracking, surveillance, and censorship. Cookies are deleted at the end of a browsing session. These modifications ensure your privacy and security are protected in the browser. However, your internet service provider (ISP) can see that you’re connected to Tor although the ISP cannot see your activity. Also, it is possible for an exit node to spy on your activity if the user goes to an unsecured HTTP website while using Tor Browser.
Tor Browser is not a virtual private network (VPN) and is usually much slower to use. Tor is not illegal to use. However, it is illegal to browse or download certain content, like child pornography, and or buy certain services or goods, like hacked credit card numbers.
How to Access to CIA Onion Website
The new CIA onion website is only accessible with a secure web browser like Tor Browser. If you don’t have Tor, you can download it to your computer or mobile device. Tor Browser is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. A Tor mobile browser is available for Android devices.
- Go to https://www.torproject.org to download and install the Tor web browser. Be sure to select the correct download for your device
- Open Tor browser
- Go to the CIA onion site at ciadotgov4sjwlzihbbgxnqg3xiyrg7so2r2o3lt5wz5ypk4sxyjstad.onion
The CIA’s onion website is identical to its surface website. Even its children’s area is the same. The only difference is that when you are using Tor Browser and are on the onion website, your activity is completely anonymous.
Tor Browser is not the only way to securely browse the internet. Alternative encrypted browsers include Brave Browser. Those interested in privacy could also use a VPN. To up your security another level use Tor together with a VPN. With a Tor over VPN connections, users connect to a VPN first then connect to Tor. VPN users need to trust the service that they use as the VPN provider has access to their actual IP address.
VPN services encrypt all the traffic on your device, not just the data in the web browser. NordVPN’s Onion over VPN service allows users to connect to Tor without Tor browser. However, to protect exit nodes, users must use VPN over Tor service, by connecting to Tor first then the VPN, which is more complicated.
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers