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Dark Web Version of Wikipedia has popped up

by Harikrishna Mekala

For instance, Wikipedia is still blocked in Turkey after the administration limited access to the site during a crackdown on dissident details after a failed coup. Syrian-Palestinian digital activist and Wikipedia editor Bassel Khartabil is believed to have been administered by the Syrian administration. To make using Wikipedia safer for at-risk users, recent Facebook security engineer Alec Muffett has commenced an experimental dark net Wikipedia help that gives visitors some sense privacy protections. The project is unofficial; for now, Wikipedia isn’t involved.

The service is available through the Tor browser, which routes your contact through several “hops” around the globe to hide your location from anybody trying to track you. The whole version of Wikipedia is already obtainable through Tor, but to get there a user’s traffic has to exit the private Tor network, opening them to scrutiny at the point where their traffic converts unencrypted. Instead, Muffett has created what’s known as an onion service for Wikipedia on the Tor network. That expects your traffic never leaves the safely encrypted confines of Tor, keeping it hidden.

“Onion sites are recognized to be about ‘anonymity’, but really they offer two more highlights: Discretion and trust if you access facebookcorewwwi.onion you are definitely connected to Facebook, because of the nature of Onion addressing,” Muffett wrote me in an email.

“The code is free and libre,” he added. “I am making it because it’s worth doing.”

While at Facebook, Muffett started the company’s onion service in 2014, and this year The New York Times started their own onion assistance using Muffett’s open-source tool for creating such sites, called the Enterprise Onion Toolkit (EOTK). So, he acknowledges what he’s doing. But the Wikipedia service is definitely an informal experiment, so it’s a bit janky. The service uses self-signed records that may trigger a security warning in Tor, so you have to manually white-list the places, which takes a couple minutes.

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