At the end of April, members of the Anonymous hacker collective announced the launch of the OnionIRC, an internet relay chat network where the group says it aims to teach people about hacking and hacktivism.

Ever since launching the service, the group has been teaching classes on all sorts of subjects, ranging from how to use tools like nmap and bash to the tricks of OSINT (open-source intelligence). Most of these courses (chat logs) are available online, on the @OnionIRC Twitter account.

But if you think this was the only things attendees learned, you’re wrong. The teachers and the main people behind this campaign have been more focused on promoting the principles of hacktivism more than anything else, hence the presence of classes on the idea of Anonymous itself, hacktivism in general, and civil disobedience.

The OnionIRC is not your regular Anonymous IRC, and is certainly not the place where the group plans its ops, but it sure is the place where the next generation of hacktivists are recruited and trained.

How to connect to the OnionIRC

A step-by-step tutorial on how to connect to the OnionIRC using your Tor Browser and the HexChat IRC client is below:

Step 1: Download Tor Browser and HexChat. You can download them from Softpedia mirrors, or from their homepages.

Step 2: Open HexChat and click ADD. A screenshot of the appropriate settings is available below.

HexChat login settings

HexChat login settings

In the Login Method section, you can leave those fields blank for the first visit. After you connect to the IRC for the first time, make sure to register an identity.

The rest of the information you need to keep in mind is the OnionIRC URL and port, which are: onionirchubx5363.onion/6667

Step 3: Open the Tor Browser, and keep it open for all the time you are on the OnionIRC. In HexChat’s Settings option, go to Network, and then to Network Setup.

Here you’ll setup a proxy server with the details from the image below. Keep in mind that every time you close the Tor Browser, these settings will be wiped, and you’ll have to re-do them all over again. That’s it, you’re done. Connect to the OnionIRC.

HexChat proxy settings

HexChat proxy settings

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