If you know TOR and you know v2 onion addresses, you must have seen a warning like this when you visit v2 onion addresses
The reason is that TOR has sentenced v2 onion addresses to death for a good cause, though. If you don’t know what TOR is, read about it here, and if you don’t understand what v2 onion addresses are, read about it here. If you know both, let’s move.
Tor v2 onion address has been in use for the longest time, and many people are familiar with it. Still, few people know that Tor has sentenced v2 onion addresses to death because the sentence is crucial for Tor and you.
Tor is taking v2 onion addresses out of service because several security flaws lead to the deanonymization of v2 onion address users. It is for your good that Tor is killing the v2 onion address service. Some researchers also came up with various ways to deanonymize Tor users; way before the authorities used similar methods, there is no doubt that this was a significant factor in deciding to take v2 onion addresses off service.
The security issues around V2 onion addresses are critical, and Tor developers have said several times that they will not be fixing them, mainly because they are probably unfixable. However, this is not the main reason they are discontinued. Even if we discard those issues and continue to use v2 addresses as we currently do, it would still be perilous.
Another reason is that many people are using v2 onion addresses now, and they could easily be deanonymized if they were using them now.
Deanonymization for you might mean loss of sensitive data, your identity being exposed to the public, your IP address being exposed to the world, or even a legal problem.
It is better that you stay off v2 onion addresses as much as you can, and that’s one of the reasons why Tor decided to stop supporting them.
The people who are using v2 onion addresses in any activities are at risk. They might get caught eventually and get punished. A first-time offender’s sentence is six months in prison, and a second offense is three years in jail, a third offense is ten years in prison. Tor v2 onion address users should be warned.
So what should you do?
Tor has v3 onion addresses, they were not so popular earlier, but times have made it a necessity for more secure browsing. Ordinary users should consider switching to them; why? They are more secure than v2 onion addresses, so you can use them without getting into trouble.
v3 onion addresses has some different advantages over v2 onion addresses:
- They are faster than v2 onions because the information overhead they carry is less than what is carried in v2 onion addresses, as it has been said before, no one wants to carry around unnecessary weight when running a marathon.
- They don’t have critical security flaws3. They are faster than v2 onions because the information overhead they carry is less than what is carried in v2 onion addresses, as it has been said before, no one wants to carry around unnecessary weight when running a marathon.
- They are more private as they use advanced cryptography to ensure that your data does not leak or break during transfer, therefore making the information very secure. So if you are using TOR for privacy reasons, v3 onions are the way to go.
- They are more secure than v2 onions. They don’t have many serious flaws, but there are some issues that are there, however not as severe as v2 onions.
- They are also more secure from legal attacks from authorities as they have been designed with that in mind, v2 onion addresses were not designed for that.
- They can be used via Proxy Servers, they are highly compatible with most proxy servers, one of the reasons why v2 onion addresses were discontinued is because it was burdensome to ‘port’ them over an existing proxy server environment. For example, you can hack v2 onion addresses with a proxie server and change the structure of information contained in them to manipulate the actual server that your browsing is made over, this leads to deanonymization of people who use that proxy server.
The only advantage that v2 addresses have over v3 addresses, in my opinion, is shorter addresses; v2 addresses are only 16 characters, while v3 addresses are 56 characters long. If you’re on a webpage that uses v2 onion addresses, you can see the full link straight away without any bother, but if the page uses v3 onion addresses, you will have to either copy and paste or use an address box to see the whole link.
Tor developers are not abandoning v2 onion addresses for good. They are just phasing them out. The only problem with them is that they have security flaws that can expose your identity. It would be best to make sure you don’t visit any v2 onion addresses before migrating to v3 onions for good. The best thing you can do is stay off of them entirely. After all, it is in your interest. Switching from v2 onions to v3 onions should be easy for most users.
How do you get a v3 onion address?
You can create a new hidden service v3 .onion domain for yourself at https://community.torproject.org/onion-services/setup/
You can also create a tor2web account and get an IP from them, if I’m not mistaken. Do not forget to follow their instructions when making a v3 onion address.
You can get a v3 onion address from torproject.org/running-hidden-service/. It is short and straightforward, but it is more secure than v2 onion addresses, so if you have been using v2 onion addresses in the past and had some sensitive information exchanged over them, you had better get yourself a v3 address.