Anonabox Router Anonymises Your Web Usage…Or Not!

UPDATE! 10-24-2014 – Kickstarter has now taken down the campaign for Torfi, another anonymity router similar to the Anonabox. Like the controversial Anonabox, Torfi proposed to use existing router hardware and install Tor on top but was always more open about this.

However, Kickstarter closed down the funding after sending creator Jesse Enjaian an email saying that it wasn’t “innovative enough.” Read more on the story from readwrite here.

An alternative plug-and-play privacy solution could be the Invizbox which, whilst it looks similar to the Anonabox, promises better OpenWRT security and the IndieGoGo crowdfunding site hasn’t shut it down so far…

Another Tor router set to launch with a Kickstarter campaign very soon is Cloak and PORTAL which promises that “they’re doing it the way that Anonabox should have done it.”

But as Wired point out:-

“Even the most reputable of these Tor router projects like PORTAL and Cloak face serious challenges. Because the official Tor Project doesn’t support OpenWRT. So, If a vulnerability is found in Tor—not too uncommon an event—it will have to be patched by the Cloak or PORTAL teams themselves.” and “More fundamentally, routing all the data that goes through your home router over the Tor network may not even be such a smart idea in the first place”

So, for now, we think it’s better to just stick to rolling your own router and configuring it to use either a reliable VPN or TOR, or both.

UPDATE! 10-17-2014 – Welp, just forget this whole damn thing. More has come out after it blew up in the media and it’s not at all what it appeared to be.

The creator of the Anonabox Kickstarter campaign, August Germar, is accused of grossly misrepresenting it and Kickstarter has suspended the campaign completely. According to Wired and watchful Reddit users, the Anonabox turns out to be just a cheap off-the-shelf unit from China with bumped up memory, very poorly configured OpenWRT, and massive security holes.

More updates on the drama from Wired here and here.

Anonabox


The Kickstarter campaign for the Anonabox has totally exploded with over $250,000 already raised with 28 days still to go! They were only looking for $7,500…wtf!

Privacy. That’s the thing. It must be the BIG topic of the internet at the moment and just about anything that helps people achieve privacy online is gonna attract a positive reaction.

So, what is an Anonabox? Put simply it’s a plug-and-play open source embedded networking device designed specifically to run Tor. And what you do it plug it in between your router and your pc/lap-top/mobile device then all your network traffic is routed automatically over the Tor network.

You can connect your devices wirelessly or if you prefer via an ethernet cable.

Once connected all your network traffic will be encrypted over Tor, your location will be hidden and you can bypass geo-politcal restrictions, etc. There is no software to download or configure, just plug it in and play.

Of course one of the big drawbacks to Tor is speed, or lack of it, but the developer claims that  “pageload times and end user experience is significantly faster than when running the Tor browser bundle software, because all the hard work is being done in the background by the anonabox”.

Remember also that using Tor for P2P downloading or streaming geo-restricted media content is heavily frowned upon within the Tor community.

Because of that, a VPN is the one of the best ways to balance privacy and flexibility online, but additional tools and emerging alternatives like the Anonabox are great to see. When we get hold of one we’ll do some testing and report back.

Updated: February 24, 2015 by PrivacyPulp

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