Orbot iOS remote controlled

Orbot iOS

Yesterday, Orbot iOS 1.3.0 was released. This is a major update and it contains a whole new bunch of features.

The most interesting one for other app developers, though, is this: You can now interact with Orbot in 2 ways:

  • Interact with the Orbot UI via a scheme handler.
  • Get status and circuit information via a REST API.

We even released a CocoaPods library, so you don’t have to mess with the low-level stuff yourself!

With the help of that, you can now implement apps, which are relying on Orbot:

  • You can check, if it’s „VPN“ component (the Network Extension) is running, and if not, start it. (You’re not allowed to stop it, though for security concerns. Sorry…)
  • You can get notified, when the connection status changes e.g. to change your app’s settings or to stop any requests to make sure, nothing runs over the clearnet.
  • You can ask to bypass Orbot’s Tor, e.g. when your app runs its own Tor.

We’re excited to see apps emerging which make use of that! If you come up with something, which is not supported, yet, please let us know on the issue tracker. We’ll be happy to add everything you’ve got a convincing use case for!

If you now wonder, what’s the possibilities, check out the OrbotKit README, the extensive class documentation and run the example!

Orbot iOS Released

After years of research, finally we were able to release an initial version of Orbot iOS:

Load it here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/orbot/id1609461599

And find the source here: https://github.com/guardianproject/orbot-ios

There were 2 main obstacles which were finally removed:

  • We found a really good packet routing / reassembly solution: Leaf https://github.com/eycorsican/leaf/
  • Apple finally increased the maximum usable memory in Network Extensions from 15 MB to 50 MB


State of the Onion @ iOS

Tor LogoIn this post, I describe my work for Onion Browser for iOS and my research regarding the iOS Network Extension API and if it can be made usable for Tor and Onion Browser.

TL/DR: Jump straight to the Conclusion at the end of this post!

Last year I was honored to get hired by the The Guardian Project to support Mike Tigas with version 2 of his Onion Browser project.

Onion Browser is a Tor-enabled browser for iOS. Download it on the App Store.

It supports different bridging techniques and has a bunch of additional security features.

I’m very proud of being a part of this team and helping along with this project, as it is aimed esp. towards helping people in countries where freedom of expression is limited. The goal is to actually make a dent in improving people’s security online, and I believe that we definitely achieved this goal.

While working on it, I got the task of looking into the state of iOS‘ relatively new (and heavily underdocumented) feature called „Network Extension“ to find out, if it already is in a state where we can use it for Onion Browser.

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NFC: Android vs. Computer in Host-based Card Emulation app

Since a few days, I struggle to get myself into NFC programming.

A customer wants me to do an NFC Android app demo which receives proprietary data from a device and for that, the app has to leverage the Host-based Card Emulation feature and I need a working counterpart on my dev computer.

It seems to be a rather complex technology stack, since it’s a crossbread between parts of RFID and some Smart Card technologies.

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Returned from ESA App Camp

Main List SceneWe had 9 days of fun at ESA’s App Camp. Held at ESA’s „ESRIN“ facilities in Frascati, Italy, near Rome, Hannes Moser and me had a great experience in a team joined by Holger Frank and Paul Steinhilber from Germany.

Together we developed an app called „Badespass“, which helps users to find bathing spots nearby (or near their next holiday location) and teaches them about environmental issues related to water quality. It also tries to leverage crowd-sourcing and peer pressure, to push for change in regions with problems in that regard.

The app makes use of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) extensive list of tested bathing spots (over 30.000 all over Europe) and the real-time water quality and surface temperature provided by ESA’s Sentinel-3 satellites which is due for launch in 2015. These are part of the Copernicus earth observation program, replacing the died Envisat.

Read ESA’s press release about it!
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MED-EL launched „Continents & Oceans“ mobile game developed by Die Netzarchitekten

C&O Logo
Austrian company MED-EL (Wikipedia), famous for its invention of the world’s first cochlear implant, launches the renewed serious game „Continents & Oceans“ as an iOS and Android version.

Hannes Moser and I from Die Netzarchitekten developed this version for MED-EL, using Cordova (ex Phonegap) and an extensive automated build depending on Grunt.

Die Netzarchitekten selected for ESA App Camp!

von RamaEigenes Werk. Lizenziert unter CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr über Wikimedia Commons

Hell, yeah!

Yesterday the news arrived: Hannes Moser and I from Die Netzarchitekten were selected for ESA’s App Camp in Frascati near Rome!

We’re looking forward to this exciting opportunity to get some kick-ass data out of the Copernicus earth observation program!

Können wir Europäer etwas aus Fukushima lernen?

Fukushima Reaktorhavarie CC-BY-SA 3.0 von Digital Globe

Fukushima Reaktorhavarie CC-BY-SA 3.0 von Digital Globe

Ein guter Freund, Harald Freunbichler, hat gestern eine Mail geschrieben, deren Inhalt ich so gut und lesenswert fand, daß ich sie Euch nicht vorenthalten möchte. Deshalb hier veröffentlicht mit seiner Genehmigung:

Können wir Europäer etwas aus Fukushima lernen?

Gestern lief im ARTE die Rekonstruktion der Ereignisse im Kontrollraum von Fukushima (und darum herum). Wer das nicht gesehen hat und dafür Interesse hat, kann es auf ARTE+7 noch sechs Tage sehen. Der Film Fukushima – Chronik eines Desasters hat 48 Minuten.

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Talk at Web Dev Meetup: „Theses for Better Mobile and Web Applications“

In this talk, I rant about 3 issues in software engineering, which I repeatedly stumbled over in my career so far:

  • Choosing the tools because we like them, not because they are the best for our problems.
  • Rewriting software from scratch, not evolving it instead.
  • Piling up awesome masses of dependencies.

… and one general recommendation I draw from my experience: Build your applications as a set of APIs.

I held it at the last Salzburg Web Dev Meetup at Elements‚ awesome new offices in the Gusswerk.

Strange fonts are unfortunately due to SlideShare import, sorry.

Neue Apps für Web2Null

Android vs. iOS
Fröhlich kann ich berichten, daß ich vor kurzem einen Auftrag der Agentur Web2Null abschließen konnte.

Dabei handelt es sich um eine App die sowohl für Android als auch iOS angeboten wird.
Ich konnte umfangreiche Erfahrung mit der Integration von Apple Maps und Google Maps sammeln und einige Schwierigkeiten im Zusammenhang mit der Portierung von Apps von iOS nach Android erfolgreich überwinden.

Insbesondere die sehr hohe Varianz bei Bildschirmgrößen und -auflösung bei Androidgeräten macht es unmöglich, ein vorgegebenes Design 1:1 zu übernehmen. Schlußendlich haben wir jedoch eine Lösung erarbeitet, die sich optimial an die unterschiedlichen Umgebungen anpasst!


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