V3 Domain for the CIA’s Dark Web Onion Service Launched in 2019

Tor has grown in popularity worldwide over the past few years, but it has also been a tool for intelligence agencies and covert communications - not to mention the endless cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and criminals. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) launched its own Tor onion service in 2019 so that people around the world could browse the agency's website anonymously because it's secure, anonymous, and untraceable - characteristics that have always been present in the CIA's intelligence-gathering mission.

Over the years, many organizations have launched their own version of the Onion - a dedicated version of their website that they configure and host and can access through the Tor anonymity network. The Dutch National Police even has an Onion service related to operations against dark web crime, but the CIA is the first intelligence agency to make that leap.

"Our global mission requires that everyone be able to access us securely from anywhere, and creating the Onion website is just one of the many ways we are reaching people." said Brittany Brammer, director of public affairs for the CIA.

Everything on the main CIA website (CIA.gov) can be found on its Onion site, including instructions on how to contact the CIA and a digital form for submitting tips. There are also job listings, archival material from the agency, including its world profile, and, of course, the children's section. The main reason people actually choose to access the CIA website through Tor is the greater anonymity protection it offers when sending information to the agency to provide intelligence.

The CIA's website is a version 3 onion service, which means it has improved encryption algorithms and stronger authentication, which was launched by the Tor Project in late 2017. In general, it works the same way as the version 2 Onion site, only with longer addresses. Instead of "nytimes3xbfgragh.onion" or something like that,you can access the CIA's Onion website via "ciadotgov4sjwlzihbbgxnqg3xiyrg7so2r2o3lt5wz5ypk4sxyjstad.onion".

"We believe the Onion service is a critical next step in securing the Web, similar to the standardization of https as a more secure configuration than http, so it's not surprising that the CIA would want to leverage the privacy and security protections of the Onion service." said Stephanie Whited, Tor's director of communications.

CIA V3 domain:

Clearnet domain name:

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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