Thinking about Tor consumer boxes

Thinking about the devices that are supposed to make it possible for Tor user friendly for mass market consumers. These are boxes like the Onion Pi, Anonabox, TorFI, Cloak, etc. I think the designers are missing a few things.

First: the device needs to have 2 wireless radio devices. You can’t always plug in on the go. I haven’t been in a hotel or a cafe (coffee shop) that allows one to plug in to a network jack. They’ve all seem to have gone the route of WIFI. In order for this to be something that people can use, they need to have 1 card be the Access Point, and the second one a way to connect to the location’s wifi. Then it needs to bridge the two.

Second: the device needs to be set up for portable power. I should have to be tied to a building’s power source if I want to use it. I should be able to use a wall wart, a laptop’s usb port(s), or a portable battery like the ones made by Anker or EasyAcc. That means a device that can run off of 5 volts, and between 1 mA/h to 2.1 mA/h.

Third: related to the first two. I should be able to leave the device in my laptop or book bag while running. Having a “strange looking device” attached to the laptop causes people to ask questions. I already use a privacy filter (and have had them fail). I don’t want to have to answer questions to other people about the things I have connected to my laptop. I want to “blend” as much as possible when out and about. It is part of my Operational Security (OPSEC).

Out of the devices I listed above, I think the “onion pi” come the closest. But it requires that people know how to set up their Pi, or trust that someone sets it up for them properly. The devices all need to be tested in labs that can do network flow and packet capture analysis to make sure data is’t being leaked.

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