[tor-dev] OnionGatherer: evaluating status of hidden services

ng0 contact.ng0 at cryptolab.net
Fri Mar 10 20:13:42 UTC 2017

Massimo La Morgia transcribed 6.7K bytes:
> On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 5:39 PM, David Fifield <david at bamsoftware.com>
> wrote:
> > On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 12:58:55PM +0100, Massimo La Morgia wrote:
> > > we are a research group at Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. We do
> > research on
> > > distributed systems, Tor, and the Dark Web. As part of our work, we have
> > > developed OnionGatherer, a service that gives up-to-date information
> > about Dark
> > > Web hidden services to Tor users.
> >
> > ...and presumably helps you build a crowdsourced list of onion services
> > that you plan to use for some other research purpose?
> >
> yes, of course in this way we are building a crowdsourced list of onion
> services, but is not really different from onion directories.
> At this time we have no plan for other research that use this crowdsourced
> list.
> >
> > If you're planning a research project on Tor users, you should write to
> > the research safety board and get ideas about how ot do it in a way that
> > minimizes risk.
> > https://research.torproject.org/safetyboard.html
> >
> >
> thank you for the suggestion.
> > This idea seems, to me, to have a lot of privacy problems. You're asking
> > people to use Chrome instead of Tor Browser, which means they will be
> > vulnerable to a lot of fingerprinting and trivial deanonymization
> > attacks.
> No we are not asking people to use chrome for browsing on tor, but we are
> offering a service that can help them to know if a onion address is up
> before start to surf with Tor Browser

Having only an extension for Chrome based browsers implies asking users
to use Chrome based browsers. If there were a choice between Firefox and
Chrome extensions, it would be less clear and not implying.

> > Your extension reports not only the onion domains that it
> > finds, but also the URL of the page you were browsing at the time:
> >         var onionsJson = JSON.stringify({onions:onions, website:
> > window.location.href});
> > You need to at least inform your research subjects/users what of their
> > private data you are storing and what you are doing with it.
> >
> As you can see from the source code we are not storing any sensitive data
> like ip or users information. do you think that only URL page can damage
> user privacy?

This aside, do you just check if the page still exists or the top level
onion domain you found this page on? If so, this would be an improvement
I'd suggest, to only use the toplevel domain.
I have not looked at your code.

> > You're using two different regexes for onion URLs that aren't the same.
> > The one used during replacement doesn't match "https", so I guess it
> > will fail on URLs like https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/.
> >         /^(http(s)?:\/\/)?.{16}(\.onion)\/?.*$/
> >         /(http:\/\/)?\b[\w\d]{16}\.onion(\/[\S]*|)/
> >
> Yes, you right, thank you for the feedback.

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