Monday, October 31, 2011

Using TOR on non-rooted Honeycomb Devices

Android Honeycomb and above.

I've been using Tor (Operator is my favourite) on my PCs to get around firewall restrictions for a while now.. so was only natural to figureout how to do it on my androids as well. My problem is that while my phone is rooted and hence has super powers, my tab isn't(honeycomb 3.2 on acer iconia a500 is as yet unrootable).

"Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis"- To know more about the Tor Project click here

Most tor, ssh or proxy-server based apps require root access to work. so i decided to do some digging. thats when i came upon this link at on how to configure and use Orbot.

Orbot is a circumvention app(like operator on pc) that connects android browsers to the Tor network.

full detailed instructions for configuring and using it on various versions of android as well as rooted and non rooted ones is at this link -
I will be concentrating on non rooted Honeycomb devices:
1) Check your space, you may need 30mb for this
2) Install Orbot from the market here or the Tor Project here

3) Install Firefox and go to to install the ProxyMob Addon
(Update 28Dec 2012: this addon is no longer available in the firefox addon list, so use the link provided..thanks to Nathan at the Gaurdian Project for the new link.

You can also use Orweb, or set Orbot to work with all apps)

4)Start Orbot and go through the wizard(if you accidentally skipped it, you can bring it up from the menu).
-Unless you have a rooted phone, click the check box on the Orbot Permissions screen to continue without root
-If you want to try other apps with Tor, install them on the Orbot-enabled apps screen
-On the Orbot-enabled apps screen, click the proxy settings button to see the proxy settings you need to connect your browser(or whatever other app) to Orbot.
-On the main screen use the giant power button to start Orbot(it first goes yellow and then should become green). you can also use the menu's "start" option.

5)Start Firefox and go to "addons" in the menu. you’ll find the proxy settings in the Add-ons menu under ProxyMob’s add-on options.
-Use as the proxy host for both HTTP and SOCKS.
-Set the HTTP proxy port to 8118, and/or the SOCKS proxy port to 9050.
-Browse to to confirm you’re using Tor.

NOTE: Browsing with Tor is normally really slow, this is because
"To create a private network pathway with Tor, the user's software or client incrementally builds a circuit of encrypted connections through relays on the network. The circuit is extended one hop at a time, and each relay along the way knows only which relay gave it data and which relay it is giving data to. No individual relay ever knows the complete path that a data packet has taken. The client negotiates a separate set of encryption keys for each hop along the circuit to ensure that each hop can't trace these connections as they pass through.
For efficiency, the Tor software uses the same circuit for connections that happen within the same ten minutes or so. Later requests are given a new circuit, to keep people from linking your earlier actions to the new ones."

The Tor network relies on volunteers to donate bandwidth. The more people who run relays, the faster the Tor network will be. If you have at least 20 kilobytes/s each way, please help out Tor by configuring your Tor to be a relay too. We have many features that make Tor relays easy and convenient, including rate limiting for bandwidth, exit policies so you can limit your exposure to abuse complaints, and support for dynamic IP addresses.

You can run a Tor relay on pretty much any operating system. Tor relays work best on Linux, OS X Tiger or later, FreeBSD 5.x+, NetBSD 5.x+, and Windows Server 2003 or later. to know more click here

As suggested by reader Stephany Huneidy I decided to include this link to a primer on Proxy vs VPN. Thought it might be useful to everybody.


anonymous said... writes:Thanks for the support and great write up!You can get the latest version of ProxyMob for Firefox at: is not in the Mozilla add-on store.Best, Nathan of Guardian

chaitanyak said...

Originally posted by anonymous:Thanks for the support and great write up! your welcome! and keep up the good work.will update the ProxyMob link

anonymous said...

Miles of Rhodes writes:Help! Firefox says I cannot download proxy mob. What do I do?

chaitanyak said...

Originally posted by Gaurdian Project:Help! Firefox says I cannot download proxy mob. What do I do?didn't that link work? write to the guys at Gaurdian Project for the new link.. they respond in a day or two.

anonymous said...

Miles of Rhodes writes:It wasn't the link it just said that it couldn't download it because the version of Firefox I was using was too new

chaitanyak said...

Originally posted by Miles of Rhodes:It wasn't the link it just said that it couldn't download it because the version of Firefox I was using was too newyes that happened to me as well.. had to update this post a couple of times(earlier i used to use the orbot browser instead of FF).. just report it to them.. or wait and try again.. they(Gaurdian Project) take some time to update the plugin.