Tor on Android - Progress! (Orbot)

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Sun Oct 25 07:22:48 UTC 2009

Hello *,

Nathan and I have been working on making a viable, secure and usable
port of Tor to the Android platform. There have been a few attempts at
getting Tor or Tor like software (onion coffee, etc) to run on Android.
The most notable was probably Adam Langley's initial attempts. For quite
sometime, Nathan and I tried a few different approaches. Finally, we
stumbled upon a method for calling arbitrary binaries that are stored as
assets in a package. Nathan wrote a little about this method here:

We spent most of today working on an Orbot build document:

The BUILD document starts a user off without any Android tools on their
system. By the end of the tutorial, you'll have a working, signed Orbot
package. We will endevor to keep this document up to date.

Orbot provides a simple way to run the C reference implementation of
Tor. This means that we can have hidden services and all of the rest of
the Tor client/server/bridge functionality on Android. I expect that
hidden services will become popular if someone ports TorChat to Android.

Tor itself exposes the usual SOCKS proxy and Orbot extends this by also
offering an HTTP proxy. Part of the code that powers the HTTP proxy is a
powered by a fork of jsocks. We've named it asocks (Android SOCKS) and
put it in subversion:

The UI for Orbot really needs a lot of work. It will require a lot of
polish. Currently, it does do very basic controlling of Tor; it's mostly
by brute force and doesn't use anything fancy with the control port.

The next step will be to create a second application that actually uses
Tor. It will likely be a web browser that specifically utilizes Tor for
everything. This will be similar in scope to what Conell did for
TorProxy with his Shadow browser:

It is likely that we'll replace TorProxy in the market after we're
pretty sure that we're on the right path.

If you'd like to try a build of Orbot, I've put up an early alpha build:

If you have an android phone, you can scan this QR code to download and
install the package:

This is our first alpha release and we'd love some feedback...


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