how to:How To Improve Your Privacy and Security By Installing Tor On Your Android Smartphone
Mobile communications can easily be surveilled. One step you can take to prevent tracking is to install Tor on your phone.
Orbot, developed by the Guardian Project, is an application that implements Tor on Android phones. It allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging, and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider. Learn more about Tor at https://torproject.org or visit our how-to guide for using Tor on your computer.
Don't have an Android device? Your best bet is to try to browse the mobile web with HTTPS. Many smartphone browsers these days support this type of browsing. Using HTTPS means that you are creating a more secure channel over an unsecure network, better protecting you from surveillance and eavesdropping. It prevents someone from accessing your web accounts without permission. Remember, though, HTTPS encrypts the transmission, but NOT the content you are transmitting.
Orbot works on standard Android 1.x devices (G1, MyTouch3G, Hero, Droid Eris, Cliq, Moment) and Android 2.x devices (Droid, Nexus One). Is this guide missing anything? Add your suggestions in the comments section below!
Before you install Orbot, you will need to download and install the ProxySurf browser if you have an Android 1.x device. It’s available for free on the Android Market.
For Android 2.x devices, you will need to root your phone for Orbot to transparently proxy all traffic. Rooting your phone (similar to “jailbreaking” an iPhone) gives you more administrative privileges to the android operating system. With these privileges, you can make changes to the system and run scripts that a standard user cannot.
If you aren’t familiar with root access, check out this entry on Wikipedia as well as ReadWriteWeb's guide. Lifehacker and PC World also have guides for rooting different types of Android devices. There are a few different apps available on the Android Marketplace that root your device for you.
Make sure you are aware of the risks before rooting your device - doing it incorrectly could ruin your phone. Rooting is not for the inexperienced user, so make sure you fully understand how to root your specific device before you attempt to do so.
If you don’t root your phone, you'll need to manually configure your specific applications.
Once you install Orbot, the program will walk you through set-up. You’ll first be asked if you want to install the application.
Once it’s installed, you will be directed to a welcome screen. Click “About Orbot” to learn more about the app, then click “Next” to get started with the set-up.
It will ask you to get root permissions. In the most simplistic terms, root access is giving access to the most basic files, systems, and commands on your phone. By giving root permissions to Orbot, it can change or alter files on your phone.
The set-up wizard will then ask if you want to install app buttons that are directly connected to Orbot - Gibber (formerly known as OtrChat) for off-the-record instant messaging and OrWeb, a privacy-enanced mobile browser.
It will then ask you your preferences for configuring Tor. You have the option to route all application traffic through Tor or you can choose the applications for Tor individually. This is up to you. If you want to select apps individually, it will then ask you to check next to the apps on your Android that you want to route through Tor.
Then you’ll see an “Orbot is ready!” screen. Finally, you will see a screen confirming that Orbot has detected you have root permissions enabled for Tor. You’re ready!