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Kickstarter suspends anonymous router project

August Germar recently launched a project on Kickstarter, Anonabox. The aim was to raise $7500 to build and create a tiny custom router that would send all browsing traffic across the Tor network, ensuring anonymity and traffic encryption. The project made $585,000 in its first five days but it looks like Kickstarter has shut the project down for now, due to concerns over who was making the hardware.

Once the project launched, some people noticed that the “custom-built” hardware was already available elsewhere, pictures of the prototype Anonabox seemed to be very similar to a router already available from a Chinese electronics company. Others questioned the project’s pledge to be open source as the project creator didn’t share much of the code running on the router. Additionally, some security shortcomings were discovered, which could give attackers a way to compromise the device.

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The worries eventually caused Kickstarter to suspend the project and ensure that the money made so far did not get passed on. In an email to Wired, Kickstarter said that the questions raised about where the hardware came from, ultimately led to the suspension:

August Germar was in charge of the Anonabox project, telling Ars Technica that the similar looking devices seen on Chinese websites were “just generic knock-offs”. Despite the Kickstarter suspension, Germar still plans to develop the router and sell it directly to customers instead.

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KitGuru Says: It’s not quite clear whether or not the Anonabox project has been shut down for good, the page is still viewable and Kickstarter itself seems to be stating that the project is suspended, giving off the impression that if some issues can be resolved, the project may go ahead as planned. 

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