Earlier this week, we reported that Kickstarter suspended the Anonabox project due to questions about its origins. The device was basically a small router with two Ethernet ports, allowing the user to place it between a broadband or DSL modem and a network's router. Thanks to the built-in Tor software, users could allegedly surf the Internet without the worries of being followed by government agencies.
With Anonabox now defunct, a new champion has stepped forward claiming that it's the real deal. Called Project Sierra, this solution by Simplified Network Solutions is also on Kickstarter, and it's looking to reel in $150,000 by Halloween. So far, there are only 24 backers pledging $4,894 with only eight more days to go.
According to the Kickstarter listing, Project Sierra is based on Android and connects directly to the user's modem. The device is built on DD-WRT, which is free Linux-based firmware developed for wireless routers. The device also consists of a 7-inch LCD screen, five gigabit Ethernet ports (4 LAN, 1 WAN) and Wireless N connectivity, which provides speeds of up to 500 Mbps.
The listing reveals that Project Sierra uses an international network of proxies that allows Internet users to surf through a third party IP address. This network is based on the HTTPS security protocol and allows users to choose where their origin is established. That means users can even bypass geographic restrictions with this setup.
The project was started by Kerry Cox, who was looking to create a device that's affordable, easy to install, and connects directly to the modem. He supposedly has over 10 years of network security experience by working in both the private sector and the U.S. Army.
"The controversy surrounding Anonabox is such a shame," Cox said. "I created Project Sierra for the sole purpose of protecting consumers and their data, so to see a company take advantage of people through a scam is disheartening. However, for anyone who wants an encryption device that actually works, Project Sierra is for you."
If the whole "international network of proxies" aspect leaves you feeling a little suspicious, you could always stick with using security plugins in a browser. However, only the browser data is protected with anonymity; your chat client and other apps are not protected. This is why projects like Anonabox and Project Sierra are so interesting; they provide hardware that can be used to protect every device connecting to the Internet, not just what is in a web browser.
We've reached out to Simplified Network Solutions and requested more info about the hardware and network. We'll provide the answer right here.