back to article Facebook lifts Tor ban, touts encrypted onion access point

Facebook has changed its stance on Tor traffic and will now provide users with a way to connect to its free content ad network using the anonymizing service. The company said that it will now offer a special URL – https://facebookcorewwwi.onion – that will allow users running Tor-enabled browsers to access the service. …

  1. Glen 1
    Paris Hilton

    custom .onion address?

    I thought the domain name system on tor used a "16 character name derived from the service's public key"

    So have facebook brute-forced a custom domain of their chosing? If true, then thats the whole trust infrastructure of the hidden services is buggered. Unless something else is going on here?

    Please can someone enlighten me?

    Paris because that is how i feel.

    1. robmobz

      Re: custom .onion address?

      It is possible to brute force the first characters, the amount of processing time needed goes up exponentially with each character. Remember that they have truly massive amounts of CPU power.

    2. Old Handle
      Thumb Up

      Re: custom .onion address?

      It's a little scary actually. But yeah they brute forced the whole thing. I doubt they were specifically aiming for the corewwwi part though. More likely what they did was generate tons of these, and filter for facebook<words>.onion and then have a human look over the results to pick one that kinda made sense.

      Still, it's an impressive achievement, and it probably means the 16 character addresses won't be good enough all that much longer.

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Facebook? Anonymous?

    Irony meter just overloaded.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serious question

    What would be some use cases for accessing Facebook through an anonymising network?

    1. frank ly

      Re: Serious question

      To make anonymous posts, using a 'real name'. They could do that if the FB account was initially set up via Tor and then only ever accessed via Tor. The article talks about accessing an account but I'm wondering if you can set up an account via Tor. I suppose you, or a trusted friend anywhere in the world, could initially set it up from a public library computer or similar computers.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Serious question

      It does seem strangely at odds with the real name policy (although they claim they've relaxed that as well). But I guess one use case is that you post under your real name, but need to protect your location. Alternatively, Tor can also be used to bypass censorship, so people in countries where Facebook is banned might possibly find it useful.

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: Serious question

      Accessing facebook from any of the numerous countries there it is banned either continually or intermittently during periods of unrest.

      This is handy from a free-speech perspective, as facebook does have uses in organising protests and posting news the government would rather people not hear. From Facebook's perspective it's a way to get a little market share in those countries. Probably not a great deal, but better than none.

  4. ukgnome

    Colour me cynical

    but doesn't this actually mean - we have sorted out with the Feds and the NSA a way in which we can monitor and track the "anonymous" users.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. 101

      Re: Colour me cynical


      FB participating in TOR must be a very bad sign indeed. Humpty Dumpty-ville I would venture.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Colour me cynical

      The perfect 'Dumb-Ass' Dragnet. Fucking idiots get what the get. Using an anon service to perform non-anon functions. It's called an NSA reach-around.

      Let 'em .... It's just the NSA culling the herd.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point of using TOR

    if you got a page on Facebook?

  6. hayzoos

    Could reveal Tor user

    Beside the obvious real name anonymity conflict and other Facebook page info, this could bridge Tor and non-Tor web for a user. Same site content available both on www and Tor node seems like a bad idea.

    Also, wouldn't friend association and their locations break your attempted anonymity?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It occurs to me..

    That this is a great way to catch dumb criminals...given Prism.

    Crim: *zips up pants* that was highly immoral yet refreshing. Ooh an invite on my phone for a party *forgets to disconnect Tor opens Facebook*

    With a bit of social engineering I can see how this could be a useful tool for authorities.

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Just No!

    Seeing as I won't touch FB with yours, let alone mine, I think... hope I'm safe

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insecure solution

    No body will care about using their douche services ...

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