Simple Secure Messaging 101

Project Lead: Lisa Rein –

Project Coordinator: Galen Mancino –

Description: Learn you how to use Signal, Tor Browser, and OnionShare together to get a file to someone securely  – either in real time, or with a setting in OnionShare that deletes the file once it has been downloaded one time.

The trick is to take an afternoon and practice it over and over again, so it becomes routine for you.

  1. Download and Install Signal. (Link goes to Signal tutorial.)
  2. Download and Install Tor Browser. (Tor Browser has to be running in the background for OnionShare to work.) (Link goes straight to Tor Browser – literally download, install and it just runs – like any other browser.)
  3. Download and Install OnionShare. (Link goes straight to OnionShare site. OnionShare is so easy to use it takes you a minute to realize it’s ready already to upload a file ;-)
  4. Upload a file over OnionShare, and copy and paste the URL from OnionShare to whomever, on Signal.
  5. The person attempting to receive the file will cut and paste the URL from Signal into their Tor Browser window, so they can download it, using Tor Browser, on their end. (So, only the SENDER needs OnionShare, which is kind of cool, as it’s one less thing for the RECEIVER to deal with.)
  6. After they download the file, they can confirm receipt via Signal. – But you will have already seen that they have downloaded it, in your OnionShare window. Then OnionShare will either stay connected or disconnect, upon download, depending on which box you have checked.


November 11 2023 – 11 am -6:30 pm PST