Kickstarter suspends funding for Tor-enabled anonymising router

Kickstarter has suspended funding for a project claiming to provide online anonymity for just $45.

Anonabox had already secured pledges in excess of $585,000 (£362,000) in its first five days, but was pulled after concerns were raised about the project.

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The device consists of a custom-built router that directs the user's traffic through the Tor network. This bounces data around a volunteer network of more than 5,000 relays, encrypting it at each step, in order to protect the user's privacy. While Tor has been criticised as a way of protecting illegal acts, it is also used my many human rights activists in nation's with totalitarian governments.

Despite the makers of Anonabox claiming that using their hardware is more secure than other methods, many have questioned the validity of the device.

Users of the social news site Reddit noticed that Anonabox's "custom-built" hardware appeared very similar to a product being sold by a Chinese electronics firm. Others questioned the project's claims to be open-source, with little of the router's code made available online.

A number of security pitfalls were also discovered that could allow attackers to compromise the device.

Kickstarter confirmed in an email to WIRED that question marks raised over where the device came from and who manufactured it eventually lead to the suspension.

Regardless of the setback, August Germar, the creator of the device, said that he would continue with the project, selling it directly to consumers.

"It doesn't bother me," he said in an interview with Ars Technica. "I just wanted more people to be able to have a device like this."

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With Anonabox's future less secure, the Tor Project has announced version 4.0 of its core software. The update removes some features found to be vulnerable to attack and adds data traffic tunnelling systems.