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Tiny $51 Tor router runs OpenWRT Linux

Oct 14, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 5,986 views

[Updated Oct 18] — A project called “Anonabox,” offering a tiny Tor router for anonymous Internet use, has been suspended by Kickstarter amid allegations of fraud.


Anonabox Kickstarter project suspended

According to Wired, a successfully funded Anonabox project for a $45 Tor router, reported on below, was suspended by Kickstarter. The project was criticized on Reddit for the developers’ claim that the device was four years in the making. Reportedly, the Anonabox team used a recently acquired design from a Chinese supplier. Others claim the OpentWRT port to the device is deeply flawed, and would enable security vulnerabilities.

The message below appears on the Anonabox website:

(click to enlarge)

Our original post (unedited) appears below.


Tiny $51 Tor router runs OpenWRT Linux

Oct 14, 2014 | Eric Brown

A Kickstarter project called “Anonabox” offers a tiny Tor router for anonymous Internet use, running OpenWRT Linux on a MediaTek MT7620n WiFi chipset.

The Anonabox is a “completely open source and open hardware” networking device that provides anonymous Internet access and encryption, says Chico, Calif.-based project leader August Germar on the Anonabox Kickstarter page. The device has already blasted past Germar’s $7,500 funding goal, which was intended to “help us move out of our garage, into full production.” With the $350,000 the Anonabox has garnered so far, Germar should be able to afford some nicer digs, indeed.

The $45 early bird round has already been spoken for, but you can still get the device for $51 through Nov. 11. A $99 version offers the Anonabox preconfigured “with the SSID of your choice.”

Anonabox connections: WAN (left), LAN, and power
(click image to enlarge)

The Anonabox is a hardware router implementation of the open source Tor networking server. Tor was originally developed by the U.S. Navy, but is now widely used by journalists, dissidents, and others attempting to cover up their cyber-trail. It works by generating a complex network of virtual tunnels that hides one’s IP address.

Anonabox setup
(click image to enlarge)

While Tor devices such as Pogoplug’s $49 Safeplug are designed primarily for anonymizing one’s web browsing sessions and hiding identity and physical location, the Anonabox can also bypass filtering systems designed to censor Internet content, say the developers. In fact, the device was inspired in part by the Arab Spring protests, and is aimed primarily at dissidents and others who want to communicate anonymously and bypass censorship in places where access to the Internet is limited.

With the Anonabox, all traffic coming out of or going into one’s computer or network is encrypted with Tor. The device is said to be free from the back-doors and security flaws common to other commercially available routers. The Anonabox “hides your location, as well as all the other personal data that leaks through ordinary Internet use,” says the Anonabox team. A default firewall configuration is said to protect one’s computer or network from outside access.

More views of the Anonabox

Unlike software implementations of Tor, typically via a modified version of Firefox called the Tor browser bundle, or Vidalia, the Anonabox hides all computer data from prying eyes, not just web activity, says the Anonabox team. “As more people use the Tor network, more people accidentally reveal information about themselves by using the software incorrectly, or by simultaneously running other software that compromises their security,” say the developers.

The Anonabox also allows lets you use programs over Tor that never supported it before or required complex configuration, such as Skype, Safari, and Filezilla, say the developers. There are no downloads, configuration procedures, login credentials, or registration.

The 2.4 x 1.6 x 0.5-inch Anonabox is small enough to be sent through the mail, and to be easily concealed. Two of them can fit inside a cigarette pack.

The device runs OpenWRT on a MediaTek MT7620n chipset clocked at 580MHz. The MT7620n is one of the MIPS-based WiFi connectivity chips associated with MediaTek’s acquisition of Ralink.

Inside the Anonabox
(click image to enlarge)

The device is further equipped with 64MB of RAM, 16MB of flash ROM, 802.11n, and both a LAN and WAN port. A micro-USB port serves the 5v @ 2A power supply. OpenWRT Linux source code for the Apache-licensed gizmo has already been posted on the Anonabox website.

Specifications listed for the Anonabox include:

  • Processor — MediaTek MT7620n (1x MIPS 24KEc core @ 580MHz) with 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5p FE switch
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 16MB flash
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11n @ 2.4Ghz
    • 150Mbps max. speed
    • WEP, WPA, and WPA2 personal and enterprise; RADIUS security
  • Networking — 10/100Mbps LAN port; 10/100Mbps WAN port
  • Power — 5v @ 2A via micro-USB port
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 55°C
  • Weight — 26.8 g
  • Dimensions — 2.4 x 1.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Operating system — OpenWRT Linux with Tor server

Anonabox video overview

Further information

The Anonabox is available on Kickstarter through Nov. 11, starting at $51, and will ship in January. More information may be found at the Anonabox Kickstarter page and at the Anonabox website.

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0 responses to “Tiny $51 Tor router runs OpenWRT Linux”

  1. Jason says:

    TOR is awesome but Google blocks GMAIL if it is coming from a TOR address. So, is there a way to configure certain addresses (such as banks, gmail, etc.) to not use the proxied IP address? Also, most people don’t realize this but once the connection is proxied, if it is leaving the TOR network, integrity can’t be guaranteed. Say, someone stole the private key of Yahoo. Well, if that person is an exit point, they can create a transparent proxy that redirects requests (with SSL and all) to there own IP address and voila, they can decrypt your data, steal your passwords and cookies, etc. Don’t do online shopping or banking with TOR because integrity is extremely important (it is much harder to immitate a website when there are multiple paths to that site).

  2. Keith Clubley says:


    Will I be able to link my BT Router to Google Chromecast for TV and use Cable/wifi for PC + Tablet OK with the anabox?
    Also would I still need to use Kaspersky??
    I am in the UK where could I purchase if all OK above.



    • responder says:

      I don’t know much about the Anonabox but since it’s a wifi router, it will have its own wifi network to which you can connect or disconnect at will, while doing the same thing with your normal router. There might be wifi interferences though, but selecting two sufficiently distant channels for the two routers should do the trick.

      That being said I’m not sure if it’s useful to buy this router to use Tor… Just installing and launching Tor on your computer should have the same result.

  3. Bob says:


    Your specs are wrong. There’s no such thing as: ‘WEP2’.

    Were you thinking of WPA2?

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