Computer users already have a proven and approved a solution for implementing Tor for anonymizing their internet connection. But, how can you use Tor on your smartphone? Learn about Tor Android and iOS applications.
What is Tor?
Instead of trying to rephrase it, let’s just put the definition of what ToR actually is, that I took from Tor project’s website:
Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
OrBot: The Tor Android approved solution
OrBot, an application available in the Android Market, allows Android smartphone users to users to access the web, instant messaging and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider.
It is a Tor Android solution that has been approved to be fully compliant with Tor. This actually means that it has gone through some checks from the guys who implement the Tor system. It is quite important to mention since, although Tor is an open source project. It’s always good to have an entity that “validates” its implementation when it comes to porting it to some platform like Android.
In fact, depending on your Android configuration, you may have to root, or not, your Android device so as to get the full protection of OrBot on your smartphone. The OrBot website shows you different options that you can implement, some that don’t need root.
Covert Browser: the iTunes approved Tor solution for iPad and iPhone
The approval of a Tor solution in the iTunes market, hence for iPad and iPhone users, has taken more time to be adopted than in the Android market. At the time of writing, Covert Browser is still the only app that we know of that implements access to Tor network from iPad and iPhones.
But we have to be cautious yet in the iOS field as the Tor guys, by way of Andrew Lewman, executive director of the non-profit Tor project haven’t yet validated the compliance of Covert Browser to Tor’s requirements. Well, this may seem a bit awkward from the user’s point of view. Especially knowing that Tor is an open source solution and given that fact, we may think that the developers of Covert Browser would have developed their browser as a branch from the initial Tor codes.
But if we look back, it makes sense that Tor guys need to validate any system that wants to be part of the Tor network- after all, we’re talking about anonymity here, and the Tor network can’t afford to introduce a new player in town that may eventually jeopardize the whole system – through the validation process that Covert Browser still have to go through.
Smartphones are getting adopted widely and it makes sense to get more tools that provide some anonymity to users. Indeed, smartphones are the most privacy-exposed devices that have ever been invented so far IMHO. Not only do they have a great internet connection, but they come with all those social apps and most importantly, most of them have GPS features that allow third-parties to track each and every movement of the user (or at least the phone).
Would you use Tor on your smartphone? Feel free to share your view in the comment section.