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Funding Suspended
Funding for this project was suspended by Kickstarter about 4 years ago
$951
pledged of $25,000pledged of $25,000 goal
19
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Suspended
Funding for this project was suspended by Kickstarter about 4 years ago

About

TorFi aims to satisfy the demand demonstrated for a simple, plug-and-play, secure access point to the Internet. With no more technical knowledge than what it takes to plug into a home ISP connection, TorFi can provide secure, encrypted, anonymous tunneling through the Tor® anonymous network.

The first TorFis shipped must meet the following security goals:

  • Automatically connect to the Tor® anonymous network upon acquiring a connection to the Internet.
  • Block all unnecessary inbound traffic into the TorFi from the input Ethernet port to the Internet (e.g., the router provided by your ISP).
  • Block all outbound traffic from the TorFi to the input Ethernet port.
  • Route all traffic destined for the Internet through the Tor network tunnel.
  • Pass a physical inspection for possible backdoor ICs and counterfeit chipsets.

How Does It Work

The technology required to construct a router that only forwards traffic through the Tor network -- or a private VPN such as ProXPN™ -- is easily accessible and only requires technical knowledge that most technology hobbyists have. With the relatively recent developments in low-cost, high-powered microprocessors and the flexibility and developed user-base of the Linux and Open Source community this project's goal is easily obtainable.

The method TorFi proposes for a black-box that anonymizes connected devices has been used by the TorFi Team for several years, and, quite frankly, the demand for such a device shocked us because we've been using off-the-shelf products to do this for personal use. In fact, if you possess the confidence and technical knowledge, purchasing a TP-LINK™ TL-WR841N (or many other makes and models), re-flashing the firmware with OpenWRT (a port of Linux to many embedded routers), and configuring Linux's firewall and a few packages (i.e., a Tor® client) you can make your own "TorFi" in a day.

Open Source

The software developments made during this project will be versatile and beneficial to the community at-large and not just those who purchase the TorFi. We are adamant users of Open Source software, and, as the GNU GPL mandates, we will post the source and compiled images to Github®. Because of this, even after the first production run, anyone with an Atheros™ based router (i.e., a large portion of the router market) can easily and immediately transform their router into an anonymizing hub without any need for configuration.

Why Does Anyone Need It

We hope to help develop the Internet as a place of legal, freedom and thought. We've personally witnessed discovery abuses used to invade the privacy of individual accounts for Internet services (e.g., Neustar™ can readily obtain from your ISP what IP addresses your account has visited with a computer generated document purporting itself as a legally issued subpoena without any judicial oversight to over broad or plainly irrelevant discovery requests); electronic evidence fabricated by municipal police in an attempt to secure wrongful, misdemeanor convictions; and even "copyright trolls" using possibly extortionate litigation tactics for what is likely not illegal copyright infringement but nonetheless private. In short, as the world has become digital (i.e., filing taxes, reserving hotels, reviewing and transmitting medical records, etc. all online) an entire economy has developed behind that digitalization; knowing who you are, what you own, how much money you have, and what you think about is worth a lot -- just ask Google or Facebook.

The TP-LINK™ TL-WR841N
The TP-LINK™ TL-WR841N

How Will It Be Made

The first production run of the TorFi will be of 500 units using the TP-LINK™ TL-WR841N because the Atheros™ AR9xxxx chipset is a robust system-on-a-chip (i.e., the "Internet of Things") and fully supported by OpenWRT. The first production run will also use a custom version of OpenWRT configured to automatically connect to the Tor network (default) or an OpenVPN™ VPN account through an Ethernet DHCP (default) or static Internet connection. Outside of DHCP client connections and Tor traffic, no inbound connections to the TorFi will be allowed over the Internet Ethernet port. OpenWRT is a very functional Linux distribution that can forward TCP/IP traffic between the other Ethernet interfaces and the wireless interface with the Internet connected Ethernet interface. The raison d'etre of TorFi, however, is that it ships requiring no configuration whatsoever -- simply plugging the TorFi into an AT&T® or Comcast® router (or any DHCP, Internet enabled router) will start and maintain the connection to the Tor network while forcing all TCP/IP traffic from wireless or Ethernet connections to the TorFi through that tunnel and dropping all packets that do not travel through the Tor connection.

The PCB of the wireless router. As you can see, the entire router is composed of nothing more than the Atheros system-on-a-chip, 500 MHz microprocessor, a SDRAM chip by ESMT, and control circuitry (e.g., impedence matching, timing, etc.).
The PCB of the wireless router. As you can see, the entire router is composed of nothing more than the Atheros system-on-a-chip, 500 MHz microprocessor, a SDRAM chip by ESMT, and control circuitry (e.g., impedence matching, timing, etc.).

Additionally, the OpenWRT firmware on the Atheros™ chipsets can be configured to broadcast two wireless access points on the single wireless interface (i.e., a "secure" hotspot that routes through Tor can run simultaneously with a "guest" hotspot that simply forwards traffic to the router connected to the Internet). Hence, TorFi will ship with the ability to enable a WPA/WPA2 protected "guest" or "unsecured" hotspot in addition to the default, Tor-restricted "secure" hotspot. The TL-WR841N also has a physical switch that turns its wireless adapter off, effectively turning it into a 10/100 Base-T router.

The Tor Project asserts that "Tor is generally well maintained on OpenWRT." Hence, we do not anticipate security issues through its use nor do we anticipate the need to port the Tor client to OpenWRT ourselves.

Accessing the TL-WR841N JTAG port for the Atheros microprocessor to re-flash an OpenWRT installation we accidentally bricked.
Accessing the TL-WR841N JTAG port for the Atheros microprocessor to re-flash an OpenWRT installation we accidentally bricked.

Price

Because the TL-WR841N is already so inexpensive, even at retail, we hope to sell these devices, initially, at $30 USD. If this proves to be a successful project in high demand then we will certainly attempt to reduce the price by obtaining whole-sale prices from a router manufacturer and reducing the price to near cost.

Risks and challenges

We've identified two major issues that introduce risk into the project (and we invite criticism that can vet and guide modifications of this project proposal):

(1) Creating the custom firmware version of OpenWRT with a default configuration to Tor that can be flashed in an assembly-line process; and

(2) We do not make or even, yet, have a special licensing agreement with a router manufacturer. Hence, as it stands, we entirely rely upon the retail availability of the TL-WR841N.

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    First 10 backers get the TorFi router at $50 USD.

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    Pledge $100 and receive one of the first TorFis off the production line.

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Funding period

- (58 days)