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Onionizing Repositories

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About this Onionizing Repositories Page
Support Status stable
Difficulty easy
Maintainer 0brand [archive]
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Introduction[edit]

When software packages from Debian, Whonix ™, Fedora, Qubes (and others) are downloaded prior to the installation of new packages or upgrades, the package repository sources default to the http / https transport protocol, which is non-ideal for security. Instead, experimental Tor onion services can be configured for a number of platforms, which provides several security and privacy benefits: [1]

  • The user cannot be uniquely targeted for malicious updates -- attackers are forced to attack everyone requesting the update.
  • The package repository, or observers watching it, cannot track what programs are installed.
  • The ISP cannot easily learn what packages are fetched.
  • End-to-end authentication and encryption provides protection against man-in-the-middle attacks, like version downgrade attacks.

Be aware that enabling onion repositories may cause system updates to periodically fail due to their unreliability [archive]. If this becomes an issue, it is encouraged to Re-enable Clearnet Repositories so packages can be updated.

If the term "comment" is unfamiliar, please follow this link [archive] to learn how to comment / uncomment lines in a configuration file.

In this chapter, instructions are provided for onionizing sources on the Debian, Non-Qubes-Whonix ™ and Qubes platforms.


Qubes[edit]

Qubes dom0 and VMs can be onionized by editing the repository configuration files so they point to the corresponding onion mirrors. [2]

Complete the following steps in dom0 and for each template -- not all templates can be completely onionized. The instructions below consider Debian Templates, Whonix TM Templates, and the Fedora Template.

dom0[edit]

dom0 can be updated exclusively over onion services.

1. In a dom0 terminal, open the qubes-dom0.repo configuration file in a text editor.

sudo nano /etc/yum.repos.d/qubes-dom0.repo

  • comment the lines that contain metalink
  • uncomment the lines that contain qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

Once completed, each of the four code blocks will have http(s) repository lines similar to the following example.

#baseurl = https://yum.qubes-os.org/r$releasever/current/dom0/fc25
baseurl = http://yum.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r$releasever/current/dom0/fc25
#metalink = https://yum.qubes-os.org/r$releasever/current/dom0/%DIST%/repodata/repomd.xml.metalink

Save and exit.

2. In a dom0 terminal, open the qubes-templates.repo configuration file in a text editor.

sudo nano /etc/yum.repos.d/qubes-templates.repo

  • comment the lines that contain metalink
  • uncomment the lines that contain qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

Once completed, each of the two code blocks will have http(s) repository lines similar to the following example.

#baseurl = https://yum.qubes-os.org/r$releasever/templates-itl
baseurl = http://yum.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r$releasever/templates-itl
#metalink = https://yum.qubes-os.org/r$releasever/templates-itl/repodata/repomd.xml.metalink

Save and exit.

3. In dom0 terminal, confirm both onion repositories are functional.

sudo qubes-dom0-update

Debian Templates[edit]

Debian templates can be updated exclusively over onion services. Simply edit both Qubes and Debian sources.list files so they point to the respective onion repositories.

Note: to use the tor+http configuration below, apt-transport-tor must be installed. [3] Remove tor+ from the code block if updates over Tor are unwanted.

Onionize qubes-r4.list[edit]

1. In Debian TempateVM, open the qubes-r4.list file in a text editor.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qubes-r*.list

2. Comment the first line underneath "Main qubes updates repository".

The first code block should look similar to this.

# Main qubes updates repository
#deb [arch=amd64] http://deb.qubes-os.org/r4.0/vm buster main
#deb-src http://deb.qubes-os.org/r4.0/vm buster main

3. Uncomment the corresponding line underneath "Qubes Tor updates repositories".

The first code block should look similar to this.

# Qubes Tor updates repositories
# Main qubes updates repository
deb [arch=amd64] tor+http://deb.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r4.0/vm buster main
#deb-src http://deb.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r4.0/vm buster main

Save and exit.

4. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Onionize Debian sources.list[edit]

The sources.list file can be edited so it points to the Debian onion mirror. This is a more secure method than clearnet for updates and software installation.

1. Open the Debian sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Reference the onionized Debian repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion buster/updates main contrib non-free

#Optional Backports
#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Whonix ™ Templates[edit]

Whonix templates can be updated exclusively over onion services by editing the Qubes, Debian and Whonix sources.list files so they point to the respective onion repositories.

Complete the following steps in both Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™.

Onionize qubes-r4.list[edit]

1. In Whonix ™ TempateVM, open qubes-r4.list in a text editor.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qubes-r*.list

2. Comment the first line underneath "Main qubes updates repository".

The first code block should look similar to this.

# Main qubes updates repository
#deb [arch=amd64] https://deb.qubes-os.org/r4.0/vm buster main
#deb-src https://deb.qubes-os.org/r4.0/vm buster main

3. Uncomment the corresponding line underneath "Qubes Tor updates repositories".

The first code block should look similar to this.

# Qubes Tor updates repositories
# Main qubes updates repository
deb [arch=amd64] tor+http://deb.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r4.0/vm buster main
#deb-src tor+http://deb.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r4.0/vm buster main

Save and exit.

4. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get-update-plus dist-upgrade

Onionize debian.list[edit]

1. Open the Debian sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list

2. Reference the onionized Debian repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion buster/updates main contrib non-free

#Optional Backports
#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Onionize whonix.list[edit]

Follow these steps to point the Whonix sources.list file to the v3 onion mirror. [4] [5] See Whonix APT Repository overview for details on the four repository choices.

1. Open the Whonix sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/whonix.list

2. Reference the onionized Whonix repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb https://deb.whonix.org buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://deb.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion buster main contrib non-free

#deb-src https://deb.whonix.org buster main contrib non-free
#deb-src tor+http://deb.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion buster main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get-update-plus dist-upgrade

Fedora Template[edit]

Note: Updating Fedora templates exclusively over Onion Services is not possible -- only related Qubes repositories can be onionized. The reason is Fedora does not maintain onion service repositories.

1. In Fedora TemplateVM, open the qubes-r4.repo file in a text editor.[6]

sudo gedit /etc/yum.repos.d/qubes-r*.repo

  • uncomment the lines that contain qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

Once completed, each of the four code blocks will have http(s) repository lines similar to the following example.

#baseurl = https://yum.qubes-os.org/r4.0/current/vm/fc$releasever
baseurl = http://yum.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion/r4.0/current/vm/fc$releasever

Save and exit.

2. In Fedora TemplateVM, confirm the onion service repositories are functional.

sudo dnf update


Debian[edit]

Debian hosts and VMs can be onionized by editing the Debian [7] repository configuration files so they point to the corresponding onion mirrors. Complete the following steps on Debian hosts or in Debian VMs.

Note: to use the tor+http configuration below, apt-transport-tor must be installed. [3] Remove "tor+" from the code block if updates over Tor are unwanted.

1. Open the Debian sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list

2. Reference the onionized Debian repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion buster/updates main contrib non-free

#Optional Backports
#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade


Non-Qubes-Whonix ™[edit]

Non-Qubes-Whonix ™ VMs can be onionized by editing both the Debian and Whonix repository configuration files so they point to the corresponding onion mirrors. Complete the following steps in both Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™.

Debian sources.list[edit]

1. Open the Debian sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list

2. Reference the onionized Debian repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster main contrib non-free

#deb http://security.debian.org buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion buster/updates main contrib non-free

#Optional Backports
#deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Whonix ™ sources.list[edit]

Follow these steps to point the Whonix sources.list file to the v3 onion mirror. [4] See Whonix APT Repository overview for details on the four repository choices.

1. Open the Whonix sources.list file using an editor with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/whonix.list

2. Reference the onionized Whonix repositories.

Cut and paste the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding http repositories.

#deb https://deb.whonix.org buster main contrib non-free
deb tor+http://deb.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion buster main contrib non-free

#deb-src https://deb.whonix.org buster main contrib non-free
#deb-src tor+http://deb.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion buster main contrib non-free

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the onionized repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get-update-plus dist-upgrade

Onionize Tor Project Updates[edit]

For enhanced security, advanced users and testers can onionize Tor Project updates; see Tor Versioning for further details.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-heart-apt-transport-tor-and-debian-onions [archive]
  2. In 2019, the available Qubes onion service URLs [archive] are:

    Website: www.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

    Yum repo: yum.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion
    Deb repo: deb.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

    ISOs: iso.qubesosfasa4zl44o4tws22di6kepyzfeqv3tg4e3ztknltfxqrymdad.onion

  3. 3.0 3.1 For support in downloading APT packages anonymously via the Tor network. To install it:
    sudo apt-get install apt-transport-tor
  4. 4.0 4.1 While Whonix ™ maintains both v2 and v3 onion addresses, v3 connections should be preferred because they provide additional improvements and security benefits over the v2 legacy system; see here [archive] for further information.
  5. The v3 onion protocol has been supported for clients and servers since Tor v0.3.2.1-alpha.
  6. At the time of writing Qubes-R4 was the current stable release.
  7. Also edit Whonix sources.list if you are using Whonix ™ Packages for Debian Hosts.


Please help in testing new features and bug fixes in Whonix ™.

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