[tor-talk] anonabox : the Tor hardware router

raiogam mestri raiogam at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 11 22:53:39 UTC 2014

Tor in a BoxWhat is the anonabox? The anonabox is an embedded linux device that routes all Internet traffic over the Tor network. This provides the security, anonymity and censorship-bypassing power of the Tor network without having to download or configure software. This is the first commercially available router to do this where all the software is Open Source.  You could call the anonabox a cloaking device. It not only hides your location and online activity, but also allows uncensored access to the web in places where Internet sites are blocked or monitored. Normally to use Tor someone would download software called the Vidalia browser bundle and run it on their computer. Although this allows them access to the Tor network, it only encrypts Internet traffic within that browser, allowing other Internet traffic to leak through from other programs and potentially reveal the persons private information, Internet use and location.How Hard is it to Use?Pretty easy, first you plug in the usb power cable to power up the device a blue LED will come on letting you know its on. Then you plug in a cable to the side labled WAN and connect it to your router. Then with your wireless device (laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc) connect to it wirelessly. That it! If you want to connect by direct cable you plug in another cable to the side labled LAN.The anonabox is a physical device a person can plug into that ensures ALL traffic coming out of their computer no matter what is all routed into the Tor network, closing that potential security problem. Who is making this?The lead developer for this device is August Germar, an IT security professional with over a decade of enterprise level security experience as CTO of 2interactive; a conglomeration of Internet Service providers. While there he was responsible for security of a datacenter of corporate servers as well as dedicated and co-located servers for clients and spent countless hours defending them from a wide range of security threats. He now does consulting for business clients ranging from legal firms to hospitals. He also volunteers for the Tor support forum the Tor Stack Exchange, and is an admin for the official Tor project discussion page on LinkedIn. Is this the same device I saw on another crowd funding site?We first made a Kickstarter project for this. Our primary goal was to attract attention from developers who wanted to polish the code and bring a device like this to people who needed it, and maybe even have some fun along the way. We had never done a crowd funding project before, but thought the visibility of the site would help draw attention to the project from the developer community. Turns out, most of the people who saw it just wanted the device, but we got a lot of input from developers and the Open Source community as well. We never dreamed there would so much interest in this idea! We are happy we were wrong because now the attention and feedback we received was enough to make the device better than ever. The Open Source community rose to the occasion, and concerns were raised about the code for the operating system and configuration. Whereas the version posted was a plain vanilla proof of concept for developers like us to work on all the feedback allowed us to make the software better than ever too, and now we have an extremely secure updated version of the software and configs based on an updated version of the Open Source project called P.O.R.T.A.L, which is audited and maintained by one of the most respected members of the security community known as the grugq. We are also incorporating many ideas implemented by Jacob Applebaums work on the Debian branch of the Tor hardware router project to make sure it is as secure as possible. Our initial plan was to find people who wanted to work with us on a project to develop these devices, we asked for $7,500 and received 80 times that amount. With this money came an overwhelming influx of support and assistance, as well as scrutiny and criticism, all of which have been helpful in reshaping this new launch of a finalized, polished version of the product.Now that we know so many others share our interest in this device we are more excited than ever to get these into the hands of the people who want it. The interest in we saw was inconceivable before it was posted originally, but now that we know the scale of interest we are better prepared than ever to meet that demand.What made it better?After the feedback we got from the first crowdfunding campaign we went back to the drawing board and totally started over from scratch. The new version we are calling gen 5 will have:-All new totally custom circuit board avalable nowhere else in the world-Redesigned outer case and smaller form factor (images of the new case will be posted in the updates!)-Hardened version of OpenWrt the Open Source Operating system, -Latest version of Tor software and more secure configuration.-Automatic updates of Tor software (no need to configure!) What We Need & What You GetIn order to bring this device to the next level we need your help:-Adding features and customization's from the feedback from the first (developer focused) campaign costs more.-Part of creating this to meet demand requires FCC certification.-The funds from our backers will go to paying for production costs, and a portion will also be donated to the Official Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier foundation.-Some funds will also be used to bring online new exit nodes to increase the speed and resiliency of the Tor network overall. The ImpactWhy does the world need a device like this?Censorship at the national level is increasing every day in many countries around the world.Anonymous Internet access is becoming increasingly rare and difficult to attain for the average non-technical person.This will be the first Open Source commercially available device of its kind!Risks & ChallengesPeople value transparency. All sourcecode for this device will be released under the GPL licence and audited by some of the most respected security professionals in the world.The anonabox can't help you if you don't know how to use it. Instructions for proper use in detail will be available online at the time of shipment.Other Ways You Can HelpSome people just can't contribute, but that doesn't mean they can't help!Ask folks to get the word out and make some noise about this cause!Use the Indiegogo share tools!Not everyone can afford to purchase a device like this, so we will be posting detailed instructions and resources for building one yourself with hardware you might have already, it will just require your time and some technical expertise. Thank you again everyone who has show your support with both pledges and feedback, especially the developers. FAQIs this illegal?-No there is nothing illegal about using Tor.Can the software be updated by the enduser if a new version is released?-The device will update itself to the latest most secure version of Tor automatically over an encrypted connection.Will you ship to China?-Yes, we will ship anywhere in the world.Can I put it in between my modem and router?-Yes, you can use it that way and it will work but your network will be noticably slower, thats the tradeoff for using Tor.Will the anonabox effect latency on my gaming rig?-Yes, this is not meant to be used to play video games and you will have a lot of latency. You'd be better off using your LANCan I use the wifi and RJ45 ethernet LAN connections at the same time?-Yes you can use both the hardwired and wireless connections at the same time.Will I be able to access Tor when I connect to the device wirelessly and not to my router. Meaning I will have 2 routers and 2 access wireless points, 1 which is my own router being torless, and the second being the device to access Tor solely?-Yes, this is the typical way you would use it.How will I know its working?-You can check that the device is working at anytime by going tohttps://check.torproject.orgDoes the anonobox connect to an external server for its VPN service?-No, Tor is not a VPN service, but it will connect to other Tor servers spread out all over the world.Where in the World are the Tor network servers located?-All over! Here is a map: http://anonabox.com/about/exitnodes.phpCan you exclude some traffic from going over Tor? Like Netflix or crashplan?-Not with this device. The way it is designed, everything no matter what you use is going to be routed over Tor.Will it slow down my connection to the Internet?-Yes, you will have a noticably slower connection. That is the tradeoff for having the power of Tor.I've read that some Tor dev have (or will have) a look at your device, is it true ? Are you working with them?-We are in contact with the official Tor project staff and they have agreed to audit the code before any devices ship out.Will I need to install the tor web browser or can I use any regular browser?-You can use any browser you like including the Tor browser bundle. You should know however that using the TBB will make the connection slower.Is the grugq a member of the anonabox team?No, but it would be wrong to not acknowledge the innovative work he has put in creating and auditing the PORTAL software, which is part of what makes this version so much better than before.  Can you show some images of the new case design?-Sure, here are a few 		 	   		  

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