Onionizing Repositories

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The guide explains how to configure experimental Tor onion services for APT repositories. The configuration provides additional security and privacy benefits, such as protection against targeted attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks and preventing tracking of installed programs, but it may cause system updates to fail due to unreliability.


When software packages from Debian or Kicksecure repositories are downloaded, prior to the installation of new packages or upgrades, the package repository sources default to the https transport protocol, which is non-ideal for security. Instead, experimental Tor onion services can be configured, 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 unreliabilityarchive.org. 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 linkarchive.org to learn how to comment / uncomment lines in a configuration file.

On this page, instructions are provided for onionizing sources on the Debian, Kicksecure APT sources.

Onionize Debian Package Sources[edit]

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


This box uses sudoedit for better security.

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

Kicksecure for Qubes


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

  • After applying this change, shutdown the Template.
  • All App Qubes based on the Template need to be restarted if they were already running.
  • This is a general procedure required for Qubes and unspecific to Kicksecure for Qubes.

Others and Alternatives

  • This is just an example. Other tools could achieve the same goal.
  • If this example does not work for you or if you are not using Kicksecure, please refer to this link.

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

2. Uncomment the onionized Debian repositories.

Uncomment the following .onion mirrors and comment out (#) the corresponding https repositories (except the fasttrack repository).

#deb tor+https://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye main contrib non-free #deb tor+https://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye-updates main contrib non-free #deb tor+https://deb.debian.org/debian-security bullseye-security main contrib non-free #deb tor+https://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye-backports main contrib non-free deb tor+https://fasttrack.debian.net/debian bullseye-fasttrack main contrib non-free deb tor+http://2s4yqjx5ul6okpp3f2gaunr2syex5jgbfpfvhxxbbjwnrsvbk5v3qbid.onion/debian bullseye main contrib non-free deb tor+http://2s4yqjx5ul6okpp3f2gaunr2syex5jgbfpfvhxxbbjwnrsvbk5v3qbid.onion/debian bullseye-updates main contrib non-free deb tor+http://5ajw6aqf3ep7sijnscdzw77t7xq4xjpsy335yb2wiwgouo7yfxtjlmid.onion/debian-security bullseye-security main contrib non-free deb tor+http://2s4yqjx5ul6okpp3f2gaunr2syex5jgbfpfvhxxbbjwnrsvbk5v3qbid.onion/debian bullseye-backports main contrib non-free ## No onion for fasttrack yet: ## https://salsa.debian.org/fasttrack-team/support/-/issues/27

3. Save and exit.

Onionize Kicksecure APT Sources[edit]

Follow these steps to point the Kicksecure sources.list file to the onion mirror. See Kicksecure APT Repository overview for details on the four repository choices.

This can be done using repository-dist command line interface (CLI) tool with the --transport onion option.

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

sudo repository-dist --enable --transport onion

2. Confirm the onionized repository is functional.


Onionize Tor Project APT Sources[edit]

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


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