Privacy online is fast becoming a vanishing reality, so what to do? The Internet has gone from being a luxury to a necessity so having to accept intrusion might seem unavoidable. That’s not absolutely true for those willing to use the technologies available. But by the same token, those technologies aren’t easy to understand, much less use. That’s where the Anonabox Pro comes in, because it automates the procedures that can result in greater privacy when going online.
The $119.99 retail Anonabox Pro use the Tor network to work its “magic”: Tor is a free online network maintained by volunteers and which redirects Internet traffic so as to conceal the user’s location/identity usage. This is the bane of marketers and those looking to trace back to the user from those web sites and online activities being used. The Tor network is sort of like a toll bridge that funnels what you’re doing and looking at online by getting between you and the folks looking to amortize your socializing and spending habits. Rather than the online signal that is you going directly from your computer or smartphone or tablet or laptop to what you want to see, the Tor network intercepts this and “scrubs” out all the info that online advertisers and marketers and those just plain ugly folks are looking for by making you anonymous.
Since the Anonabox Pro has Tor built-in, the user isn’t going through all kinds of configuration systems and having to make changes to their browsers and network routers and ports and all that confusing (for most of us) “nonsense.” To use a phrase taken from a person/company that believes in simplicity of functionally as well as the privacy of the individual, “it just works.”
The Pro is a Linux operational device that also enables private file sharing capabilities through an embedded USB port as well as the added protection of encryption tough VPN access. Those who know and want this will find it here, for others who are less informed, it provides the option of being able to protect one’s privacy online without making it mandatory.
The Pro is surprisingly tiny but the purpose of the electronics (which includes a 650MHz processor) is huge — to make your time spent online yours again, by rendering you anonymous to all the data-taking, privacy invading, socializing time information that trails you when online. To use it, you just connect its Ethernet port to a similar one on the router of the home network (obviously using an Ethernet cable), plus plug in its power supply to an AC outlet. That’s the whole business right there as there’s no software that has to be loaded or updated. For many the main thing is that there is no installation or configuration needed — truly plug ‘n play operation here.
That’s not to say you can’t customize your password or make some changes: that’s what the web based interface is for. But getting the Pro up and running is as easy as plugging it in, and since it has WiFi upload capabilities installed, that means those devices using wireless to connect through the home network aren’t being left out either. The networking done when wireless is in use is already configured so one doesn’t have to enter in all kinds of information, but just accept and use that which is ready to go. The Pro will also function as a plain-vanilla WiFI extender, which is to say it takes the signal being sent by the wireless transmitter/router and “sends” it on to that area where there’s a “dead zone” as far as WiFi goes. That’s not the end of it of course, because you can bring Tor back up, as it were, to let it broadcast a SSID and then jump into that (for example routing your traffic).
Connecting to the TOR network doesn’t take a long time — granted it’s not instantaneous because you are doing a connection as opposed to just jumping into the pool — but the few minutes spent waiting initially are well worth it. As to updating this can/will be done through the admin interface and is up to the user as to if and when to do (as the company will make updates available but will not be “pushing” them onto the user as a default).
Privacy online comes from being careful, but there’s only so much that a person can do to circumvent the nasties out there on the Internet who are looking to grab your data. Using the Anonabox Pro, they’ll have to work much much harder to get at you and too bad for them — but good for you.