Known as the number one option for those who want to browse the internet without worrying about their safety, TOR was finally released for Android users. The application can be downloaded from the Play Store, under the name “TOR Browser”. The mobile version was long overdue. However, the program was still in the beta phase and therefore not stable enough for release. Its overall ease-of-use makes TOR Browser a program that everyone can enjoy. Users who are unfamiliar with TOR will be relieved that there is no need for additional configuration.
TOR claims to be the strongest tool for privacy and freedom online, and the new Android version is further proof of that. The browser uses block trackers, so that third-party trackers and ads are unable to follow users during their navigation. Additionally, TOR uses its technology to stop third parties watching the connection from knowing which websites are being visited. All this is done by using multi-layered encryption. This means that traffic is relayed and encrypted three times as it passes over the TOR network. It does not track the user’s browsing history and clears cookies after every session. The TOR project explains that there are no proxy bypasses and first-party isolation is enabled to protect from cross-site tracking. However, like VPNs, ISPs will be able to detect TOR activity.
Unfortunately, TOR Browser is unavailable for iOS due to restrictions by Apple. As TOR mentioned in a statement, “several challenges prevent the interoperability that Tor developers are accustomed to on other platforms”, among them a requirement to use only Apple’s browser engine. As it is unavailable to iOS users, TOR recommends they use Onion Browser for iPhone and iPad.
Even though the TOR Browser is already halfway there to online privacy and anonymity, there are additional tools that users may supplement it with to guarantee their own protection. Orbot Proxy for Tor is also available on the Play Store and contains the core TOR service and provides connectivity to the TOR. Proxies are good for things such as watching region-restricted videos, bypassing simple content filters, or bypassing IP-based restrictions.
However, the best option is to use a VPN service. A VPN program will do not only what a proxy does, but also redirect the traffic from every application on the device through a heavily encrypted tunnel. This means that not even ISPs can access the user’s traffic. Additionally, VPNs will disguise the real location, which in the case of mobile users will be a great advantage, as most use their own mobile data which gives away their exact location. In conclusion, while TOR is the best option for those who are looking to browse the internet anonymously, coupling it with the use of a VPN will provide complete full device-level security.
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