The Tor Project has finally released the alpha version of the Tor browser for Android, giving smartphone users the opportunity to access the dark web using their devices.
The recently launched app is at par with the desktop version when it comes to anonymity.
The release came after an analysis that showed a majority of those who access the internet do so from their smartphones, and hence the need to give these mobile users the opportunity to browse online—especially if they are in areas with online censorship.
The message about the Android release was posted on Tor Project’s blog.
How to Get the Tor Browser for Android
To get the Android version of Tor, users can navigate to the Google Play Store and further download the software.
Alternatively, one can download the apk file from the Tor’s Project download page, and perhaps even use it on an Android emulator, as is the case with other apps used on the emulator installed on PCs.
When downloading it, please take note of the developer’s account name because there are many malicious programs on the store.
Ensure the app is form the official Tor Project developers page on Google Play.
After the download is finished, the next process is to install it.
You will need to install another package known as Orbot, which helps the browser connect to the Tor network.
After downloading and installing the package, the process is complete.
The screenshots below show what will appear towards the end of the setup process.
With that in mind, the team behind the project aims to create a stable version that will not necessarily require the use of Orbot in the sense that with the mobile browser alone, one can directly establish a connection to the Tor network.
Features of the Android Version
Even though the current Android version is still in the initial release stage, it has some anonymity-minded features meant to give the user as much privacy as possible.
One of them is a block tracker, which works by isolating the websites visited.
This prevents third parties from tracking your activities while browsing the dark web.
What’s more is that this feature automatically clears cookies when the session ends.
Another feature is the ability to resist fingerprints.
This blocks third parties from gathering information about the device since every gadget in the network is no different from the other.
Then it also has a defense against any form of online surveillance.
Here, any prying eyes will in no way whatsoever be able to determine the activities of the user based on the websites that they visit, but instead, what is shown is that the device is connected to the encrypted layers of the internet.
There is also a triple layer level of encryption in the sense that the traffic that passes through the network undergoes three phases of encryption courtesy of the thousands of servers in the network.
As such, one can access sites that may not be available within their jurisdiction.
As of now, Tor has not yet developed an iOS version of the browser.
At this point, it is not clear if the Tor team is working on releasing a browser for Apple smartphones, only time will tell.
The Tor Project’s Future Growth
Anyone who wishes to contribute toward the growth of Tor is free to do so in a variety of ways.
Among the methods is through volunteering by undertaking a wide range of tasks depending on the skills of the individual.
A few other ways to contribute include checking for bugs and reporting the flaws to the Tor team.
For the Android browser, given the fact that it is in its initial stages of alpha release, then there are probably bugs which required to get fixed. However, to volunteer in this manner, you need to possess specific coding skills.
Apart from that, one can offer assistance through translating the current versions to other languages.
According to their website, the Tor team seeks to help those in highly censored countries.
The Tor Project also accepts donations.
In short, there are countless ways in which anyone who is interested can contribute towards the Tor Project—which helps the organization keep its programs free and easily accessible to all.