[tor-dev] Is it possible to leak huge load of data over onions?

Griffin Boyce griffin at cryptolab.net
Mon Apr 4 00:31:26 UTC 2016

How do you transmit an elephant? One byte at a time...

But on a serious note, it's possible to transfer 2.6TB over Tor in small 
pieces (such as file by file or via torrent). Given the size, however, I'd 
suspect they mailed hard drives after establishing contact with 
journalists. Even on a fairly fast connection, 2.6TB would take quite a 


On Sun, Apr 03, 2016 at 5:24 PM, Ivan Markin < twim at riseup.net 
[twim at riseup.net] > wrote:
Recently someone leaked enormous amount of docs (2.6 TiB) to the
journalists [1]. It's still hard to do such thing even over plain old
Internet. Highly possible that these docs were transfered on a physical
hard drive despite doing so is really *risky*.

Anyways, in the framework of anonymous whistleblowing, i.e. SecureDrop
and Tor specifically it's seems to be an interesting case. I'm wondering
about the following aspects:

o Even if we use exit mode/non-anonymous onions (RSOS)
is such leaking reliable? The primary issue here
is time of transmission. It's much longer than any
time period we have in Tor.

o What is going to happen with the connection after
the HS republishes its descriptor? Long after?
[This one is probably fine if we are not using
IPs, but...]

o Most importantly, is transferring data on >1 TiB
scale (or just transferring data for days) safe at
all? At least the source should not change their
location/RP/circuits. Or need to pack all this stuff
into chunks and send them separately. It's not
obvious how it can be done properly. So at what
point the source should stop the transmission
(size/time/etc)/change location or the guard/
pick new RP?

[1] http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/56febff0a1bb8d3c3495adf4/
Happy hacking,
Ivan Markin
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tor-dev at lists.torproject.org
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