Using TOR on your Android Device

In my continuation of howto secure your phone habits while on the go, we have come to anonymizing your traffic. There are a few reasons to do this:

  1. On a public internet network and have no access to a VPN
  2. In a country that censors the internet (Hi China!)
  3. You like to keep your identity somewhat off the grid for whatever reason

TOR was developed to allow for all of the above. Due to the open nature of Android and the user-base, it was quickly ported back in 2009. The Guardian Project leads the effort and has since provided 4 main components. Today I will be focusing on the Orbot (TOR+Proxy) and the Firefox extension to allow proxy usage. In addition you can use their Jabber client for anonymous and encrypted chatting. So lets get to setting things up! A few things you need to grab from market:

  1. Orbot
  2. Firefox Mobile
  3. ROOT!

If you are not rooted then you need not apply. There is some confusion on the Market page for Orbot that you just click a big button and poof your phone is anonymous. That is not the case at all. Due to the changes in 1.6 -> 2.1/2.2 you can no longer proxy everything off your phone easily. You need to force the usage of the proxy which is why we are using Firefox with an additional extension. Any program that will allow for SOCKS proxy usage can be made to work with this setup.

Go ahead and fire up Orbot once you have installed from the Market:

Now click Menu –> Settings and enable Transparent Proxying and Tor Everything. Hopefully it will work like that one day, but for now it just makes sure the SOCKS proxy kick starts. Once you have checked the boxes click the back button to return to the main screen.

We are ready to bring online the TOR! CLick the big power button in the center and give it sometime. It will take awhile your first time to bootstap the network. This can also take a little longer if you are on crappy cell networks

Once you see the Green button and the Android Onion Head with his hands up you are on the TOR network. Congrats! If this step didn’t work go run along and troubleshoot why…

With our anonymous network now ready go ahead an open Firefox Mobile as it allows us to set a proxy. Note to Google: Let me set a system-wide proxy without using iptables hacks from the command line. SHEESH!

Well lets check to see if our phone is on the TOR network by navigating to

OH NOES! What the heck is going wrong here?!?!?! We need to grab the proxy add-on for Firefox Mobile to override its system defaults. Our buddies at the Guardian Project created on that you can find here: Installing ProxyMob will require you restart your browser.

Once you have installed and rebooted navigate to the settings by scrolling to the right bar on Firefox –> Settings –> Add-ons –> ProxyMob settings

Enable the proxy by sliding the slider over and then scroll down to the SOCKS proxy portion and enter as the host and 9050 as the Proxy port

Click back and try the TOR check page again and if you see the below image you are surfing anonymously! Congrats!