Opened 9 months ago

Last modified 5 months ago

#29800 needs_information defect

Using Tor in the UAE

Reported by: mwolfe Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: tbb-mobile
Cc: cohosh, phw Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

A friend asked me to communicate with WeChat. I downloaded the WeChat for Macintosh and Windows, and got a QR image. So I bought an Android phone, scanned the QR, and got an ERR, meaning that WeChat is blocked in the UAE.

So I tried to load Tor for Android, but it could not reach directories, with or without bridges, I get an error that a Firewall is blocking access to the bridges/directory servers.

Is there a version of Tor for Android that works in the UAE? Is it the phone I bought, a Nokia 6.1? Does Tor run on other Android phones?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Child Tickets

Change History (7)

comment:1 Changed 9 months ago by gk

Component: ApplicationsApplications/Tor Browser
Keywords: tbb-mobile added; Android removed
Owner: set to tbb-team
Status: newneeds_information

Does our Tor Browser for Android release candidate work for you? You can download it from https://people.torproject.org/~boklm/builds/8.5a9-build2/ (https://people.torproject.org/~boklm/builds/8.5a9-build2/tor-browser-8.5a9-android-armv7-multi-qa.apk). If you are tapping the gear icon you can enable bridges. I think selecting the default obfs4 or meek option should work...

comment:2 Changed 7 months ago by mwolfe

I tried turning on obfs3, obfs4, and meek, but still can't get tor to reliably load on my Nokia 6.1 plus.

One person warned me that Nokia will not run most Android apps, although I looked up 'best cheap smart phones' and the Nokia 6.1 plus was recommended, so I'm not sure if the warning was correct and it is Nokia that is the problem, or if the UAE blocks smartphones better than it blocks OSX and Windows.

I avoided smart phones until my friend asked me to use WeChat which does not work on Windows or OSX, only on iOS and Android, so I found a cheap smart phone, but Tor, Windscribe, and WeChat don't seem to work.

comment:3 in reply to:  2 Changed 7 months ago by gk

Replying to mwolfe:

I tried turning on obfs3, obfs4, and meek, but still can't get tor to reliably load on my Nokia 6.1 plus.

What does that mean? It works sometimes but not always? In cases it does not work swiping to the left should expose some log messages. What do you see in those cases?

comment:4 Changed 5 months ago by sysrqb

Cc: cohosh phw added
Summary: Tor for Android????Using Tor in the UAE

mwolfe, do you have any more information for this? Can you provide any logs from Tor showing where the error/failure occurs? Do you have Tor Browser on a desktop or laptop (and does that work)?

In addition, can you provide more information about which apps you used on the Android phone? You said you installed Tor for Android. Did you install Orbot or Tor Browser? Which configurations did you try?

comment:5 in reply to:  4 Changed 5 months ago by mwolfe

Replying to sysrqb:

mwolfe, do you have any more information for this? Can you provide any logs from Tor showing where the error/failure occurs? Do you have Tor Browser on a desktop or laptop (and does that work)?

In addition, can you provide more information about which apps you used on the Android phone? You said you installed Tor for Android. Did you install Orbot or Tor Browser? Which configurations did you try?

Basically, WeChat (what the Chinese use instead of Skype) is blocked in the UAE. Skype is also blocked. On my Windows computer, I use a VPN to Skype, since Tor does not support Skype.

I tried Orbot, which is supposed to route everything around the blocks, but it didn't work. WeChat just didn't connect. No error message, I just could not connect.

I tried to log in to the WeChat site (which must be accessed by Android, though they prefer iOS) on my Windows or Mac computer using Tor, I can try to log in, but it just gives me a QR code (that says it only works with an iPhone).

So I tried to log in to WeChat from Android with Tor, but could not connect. It might be that WeChat blocks all Tor exit nodes (I've found many sites that use a Firewall that has all or almost all Tor exit nodes blocked, and many with a Captcha that only happens with Tor and is set to be very hard to get past.

So sorry, no error logs, I just could not connect to WeChat and create an account on my Nokia 6.1 Plus phone.

comment:6 Changed 5 months ago by cypherpunks

People direly need that snowflake pluggable transport being available on Android.

comment:7 in reply to:  6 Changed 5 months ago by gk

Replying to cypherpunks:

People direly need that snowflake pluggable transport being available on Android.

Yes, we are working on it and are close...

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