Intra is an app that’s been newly launched by Jigsaw, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet to protect its users from censorship that’s state-implemented. The basic aim of Intra is to prevent attacks through DNS manipulation.
In other words, whenever you visit a website, the web address is converted into a more complicated IP address.
This makes it easier for any oppressive government to intercept requests for web addresses and subsequently kill them by stopping sites from loading them or redirecting them to fake sites.
How Does Intra Work?
Intra passes all app traffic and browsing queries through an encrypted connection to a trustworthy Domain Name Server. This ensures that you can make use of an app without any meddling. All it takes is downloading the app and turning it on. It’s actually that simple!
How to Install Intra on Your Android Device?
In order to set up Intra on any Android smartphone or tablet, simply follow these steps:
- On your mobile, head over to the Google Play Store.
- Search for Intra.
- Click on the Intra app.
- From there, click on ‘Install’.
- Wait for the download and installation process to complete.
- Launch the Intra app on your device.
Features of Intra
Intra uses Google DNS servers by default. However, users may also funnel their requests for browsing through Cloudflare that hosts its own secure DNS server.
The app is compatible with Android Pie. However, Jigsaw is launching the app for third world countries also and where upgrading from an older device becomes almost impossible so that they stand to benefit from the security features that Intra offer.
Jigsaw’s Alphabet division is focusing on the prevention of censorship, online harassment threats, and also countering extremism of a violent nature. The app’s incubator has been designed to empower free expression and speech by way of services and tools that make the virtual space safer for high-risk targets.
Jigsaw also has to its credit some other apps for countering anti-censorship and which include Project Shield. This protects a site from distributed denial-of-service attacks. Then there’s a virtual private network called Outline for activists and reporters that transmits data through a secured channel.
As you access the mobile app to go online, multiple technical transmission layers immediately lock into place for verifying that you’re actually getting data from a place where it’s supposed to come from.
Every time a website gets load in the web browser, this app hooks up with a DNS server. This points the user to the right destination when wikipedia.org or facebook.com is keyed in.
The Intra Success Story
Ever since its launch, Intra has recorded notable success in certain parts of the planet where access to the internet is monitored and/or restricted. For instance, the Venezuelan government allegedly uses DNS manipulation that prevents its citizens from accessing social networks and news sites.
The governments of such countries usually take control of their regional DNS servers, shutting them down in order to prevent access to websites beyond their national frontiers. The second alternative is to manipulate server data and redirect the citizen trying to surf a banned site elsewhere.
Intra has successfully managed to bypass government censorship. It also allowed journalists to get important information from these countries and which are of tremendous international significance, particularly in the spheres of human rights violations and breach of UN protocols.
When you enable Intra on your tablet or phone, it connects directly with Google’s own DNS servers the world over through a VPN.
This particular VPN linkup is a tunnel that’s fully encrypted and prevents anyone externally monitoring your connection from seeing which websites you are visiting. All that is visible to them is your connection with a free Google DNS server.
Should you prefer to use another DNS server, Intra’s preset permits you to hook up with CloudFlare. On top of this, you can also enter details of your additional choice manually. Your privacy, according to Intra announcements is “absolutely ensured.” It claims not to even track any websites you visit or apps you use.
Is Intra Safe to Use?
Industry watchers, however, opine that this dedication to privacy may not be as strong as that offered by paid VPN services like ExpressVPN. But it’s definitely better than the available free options.
The latter often advertise VPN services but actually end up offering just proxies, which may not be necessarily encrypted. Moreover, they also keep logs of their users who connect to their servers.
Intra in fact, is somewhat similar to the Tor network, which provides a Firefox version for Android. This is called Orfox, which has the ability to plug into the ToR network when used in conjunction with a browser called Orbot. Orbot’s Windows version is actually self-contained and eliminates the need for an additional app to run smoothly.
Tor works on the principles of a paid VPN service, except that its server network is voluntarily provided. This in turn, keeps the network absolutely free for use, but doesn’t optimize it for speed. Rather, it’s anonymity is optimized.
Even though an oppressive regime may identify IP addresses of any servers connecting you to Tor, you have the option of using a “bridge mode.” This enables you to access a separate server network that connects to these servers, routing you to your destination through Tor.