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Non-functional Onion Services

From Whonix

Sometimes the Debian, Whonix or Qubes onion servers are non-functional, meaning updates cannot be completed automatically. In that case, an error message similar to the following will appear.

user@host:~$ sudo apt-get update
Hit:1 http://security.debian.org buster/updates InRelease
Hit:2 tor+http://deb.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion buster InRelease
Ign:3 http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian buster InRelease
Hit:4 http://deb.whonix.org buster InRelease
Hit:5 http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian buster Release
Err:7 tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion buster/updates InRelease
SOCKS proxy socks5h://localhost:9050 could not connect to sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion (0.0.0.0:0) due to: Host unreachable (6)
Err:8 tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian buster InRelease
SOCKS proxy socks5h://localhost:9050 could not connect to vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion (0.0.0.0:0) due to: Host unreachable (6)
Reading package lists… Done
W: Failed to fetch tor+http://sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion/dists/buster/updates/InRelease SOCKS proxy socks5h://localhost:9050 could not connect to sgvtcaew4bxjd7ln.onion (0.0.0.0:0) due to: Host unreachable (6)
W: Failed to fetch tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian/dists/buster/InRelease SOCKS proxy socks5h://localhost:9050 could not connect to vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion (0.0.0.0:0) due to: Host unreachable (6)
W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

To circumvent this issue until the onion service is re-established, complete the following steps in Whonix-Gateway ™ (whonix-gw-15) and Whonix-Workstation ™ (whonix-ws-15). [1] [2]

1. Open Debian sources.list in an editor.

Open file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list in an editor with root rights.

(Qubes-Whonix ™: In TemplateVM)

This box uses sudoedit for better security [archive]. This is an example and other tools could also achieve the same goal. If this example does not work for you or if you are not using Whonix, please refer to this link.

sudoedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list

2. Comment (#) the lines with the .onion address and uncomment the lines with the clearnet address.

The first two code blocks should look like this. Note: only blocks shown need to be edited.

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

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

Save and exit.

3. Confirm the clearnet repositories are functional.

sudo apt-get update

4. Revert and update the package lists.

It is recommended to revert these changes later on due to the security advantages of onion repositories. Afterwards, apply Updates to refresh the package lists.

  1. If similar problems are experienced with Whonix or Qubes onion services then the same procedure can be used to modify the whonix.list and qubes-r4.list files, respectively.
  2. http://forums.dds6qkxpwdeubwucdiaord2xgbbeyds25rbsgr73tbfpqpt4a6vjwsyd.onion/t/errors-updating-september-2018/6028 [archive]