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September 14, 2015

Regulators give Tor’s .onion domain name special-use status

.onion domain site administrators can now apply for security certificates.

By CBR Staff Writer

The Engineering Task Force (IETF), along with Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, has granted formal recognition to the .onion, a special-use top level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service reachable through the Tor network.

It has now been added to the list of special-use domain names, enabling its use on Tor.

The domain’s psdeuo-TLD status has been previously limited to use only on the regular web. However, the special-use status opens the potential for site-specific encryption and the use of security documents.

The administrators of .onion domains sites can now apply for security certificates, ensuring the identity of their sites for users who access it.

Mozilla security head for Firefox Richard Barnes told Motherboard, "This enables the Tor .onion ecosystem to benefit from the same level of security you can get in the rest of the web. It adds a layer of security on top."

Earlier this year, research from Princeton University in New Jersey found that traffic on the anonymity network Tor can be unmasked by observing one end of a communication route.

Tor has been hit by a series of warnings from the security community throughout the last year, with several academics finding ways that users could allegedly be unmasked whilst using the service.

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