Use TOR On Android to Protect Your Privacy

We have shown you how to connect to TOR network so you can surf privately and anonymously, but what if you are surfing mostly on your Android phone? What can you do to protect your privacy?

Using Orbot to connect to the TOR network is a way to hide your identity online. Using TOR on Android will change your IP address through the use of a proxy server to better hide your identity. This system will work with searches, social network accounts and other things you might do in your digital life. You don’t need a rooted phone for this to work, but you will have a greater level of anonymity if your pphone is rooted.

There are several ways to download Orbot. If you are concerned about where you are downloading the app, you can choose the Google Play Store or the Guardian Project site itself. It is also available on Amazon Appstore and F-Droid. All of them offer the exact same download, but you can choose the source that is most convenient and trustworthy.

Once you have installed the app, you’ll want to start with the wizard. The wizard is pretty straight forward and walks you through the steps of what apps work well with Orbot.

TOR-set-up-wizard

You will also be given many different options, especially if your device is rooted, like having all of the applications run through Orbot or only specific ones.

TOR-proxy-setting

If you have your device rooted, you’ll need to grant Orbot superuser access all of the time. Otherwise, when you start an app like DuckDuckGo, the connection might not be there.

TOR-superuser-access

Without changing any settings, the Google Chrome search widget did not work initially. I need to reboot my tablet for the other apps to be rerouted through the proxy server. Once everything is reset, you can open a web browser and go to a site that checks your IP address and see if the IP address shows a different location than where you actually are. Since my tablet is rooted, even the preinstalled Google Chrome browser and search widget goes through a proxy server.

TOR-ip-address

Some of the applications like Firefox and Twitter may need  to be configured or have add-ons. This is more for the non-rooted users or those choosing not to use the transparent proxy feature. With Twitter, go to the Settings and select Proxy. In this tab, you’ll be asked to enable this option as well as set the proxy host and proxy port.

TOR-twitter-settings

With Firefox, you simply need to download an addon.

TOR-firefox-add-on

If you would like other apps specifically made to work with the system, there is a web browser, DuckDuckGo search engine and an Instant Messenger as well as Twitter and Firefox. These applications and addons can be downloaded directly from the setup wizard or you can always go to The Guardian Project website and download them.

TOR-compatible-apps

A point to note is that to install the APK files you downloaded, you have to enable the option to install apps not from the Google Play Store, just like you would if you install something from the Amazon app store.

TOR-download-apk

Once everything is configured, you should be able to use applications like normal. While you are using your Android , the IP address will periodically change to better hide your personal information and keep your connections more secure.

TOR-ip-address-2

For Android users without rooted devices, you will need to install the applications like DuckDuckGo, make adjustments to the Official Twitter app, and use either the Firefox browser or the Orweb browser or you will not be protected and just have another app running in the background.

While there are some limitations to this privacy and security option, especially for non-root users, there are some great advantages as well. If you are the type of person that connects to every single free WiFi available to help limit data usage, you might be an easier target than someone else. By having a little added security, you can definitely feel a little more at ease.

How do you keep your personal information private?