Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Winston comes with a 1-year limited warranty. Please visit https://winstonprivacy.com/pages/warranty-policy for more information.Last updated:
Yes, but you will use that combination device as though it's just a modem and will probably want to also use a separate stand-alone router.
You will set up your network like this:
Wall jack → All-In-One Modem/Router (possibly in bridge mode) → Winston → Separate Router → Computers
Wall jack → All-In-One Modem/Router (possibly in bridge mode) → Winston → One Computer
Only devices connected after Winston will be protected by Winston.Last updated:
No, but most users will want to use a router, in order to protect multiple devices.
In other words, you can set up your Winston as follows, which protects just one device:
Wall jack → Modem → Winston → One Computer/Device
Or, you can use a router, to protect all the devices in your home. Anything connected AFTER your Winston will be protected by Winston:
Wall jack → Modem → Winston → Router -> Multiple computers and devices
If you have a combination modem/router, be sure to check out our FAQ about that topic.Last updated:
Winston is currently only intended for sale and use within the United States Mainland and Canada before October 2019. We're delighted to announce that we'll also now be offering shipment to the UK for use in the UK, beginning October 2019.
For purchases outside the USA, customers are responsible for VAT/GST.
In addition to not being certified for use in other countries and not being shipped with appropriate power supplies for other countries, we cannot currently ensure there are enough other Winston users outside the contiguous US (which does not include Hawaii, Alaska, or US Territories), Canada and the UK to provide a quality Distributed Privacy Mesh Network at this time. Customers in Hawaii, Alaska, and US Territories may use Winston, but with the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network turned off, which disables Winston's anonymization.Last updated:
Shipping is added to the pledge amount for the reward tier you're chosen, and varies by country:
$ 9 US
For purchases outside the USA, customers are responsible for VAT/GST.Last updated:
It is possible that Winston can be used in a corporate setting, but Winston was designed and tested for home or individual use only.
Please note that if you’re using Winston at work, there’s a chance your IT department will question why you are running an encrypted tunnel on their network.Last updated:
No. Winston was not designed to route around regional content blocking.Last updated:
Your personal internet activity is retained on your local Winston device for up to seven days so that you can see what sites attempted to track you. This information is stored only on your device and is never exposed to Winston Privacy or the internet. After 7 days, your data is automatically deleted from your local Winston device.
The only data Winston Privacy collects is purchase/order and subscription information. We do not share or sell it. In the case of a legal subpoena, we would be forced to comply, but as we do not log any data, there would be no data beyond order and subscription information to share.Last updated:
Winston does a lot more than a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and covers all the Internet-connected devices on your network – not just your computer.
VPNs encrypt the data sent to and from your computer, protecting from having your data intercepted and read by third parties such as public wifi providers and hackers. Winston does that, too. VPNs do nothing, however, to protect you from the prying eyes of adbots, trackers, and cookies, but Winston provides that protection. Some VPNs even harvest the same data those tools collect, opening up yet another window into your private data, and Winston does not.
Also, Winston blocks the most sophisticated fingerprinting techniques, which exploit manufacturing differences (even between otherwise identical hardware devices) to determine who you are, even if you are in incognito mode or using a VPN. Winston scrambles the data it sends back to fingerprinting sites to keep you fully anonymous.
And, a VPN uses a single exit point (you can switch, but it's manual). Instead, Winston is constantly scrambling your internet across up to 30 exit points every 10 minutes. This greatly reduces the confidence that an ISP (or other eavesdropper) could have in what they think they are learning about you.
Winston is compatible with most streaming services (like Netflix and Hulu), so there’s no more getting blocked like with a VPN. To maintain a quality streaming experience, Winston does not route large downloads or streaming data through the Winston privacy mesh network, but large data transfers don’t include tracking information other than your IP address. For example, if you go to Netflix or IPTV, your activity on the site will be routed through the Winston network, but the actual video won’t be. The streaming experience is a lot better this way than it would be on a 100% encrypted network. Some Winston users may choose to continue to use a separate VPN to provide privacy related to downloads and streaming or for business use, but if a VPN is active, it will bypass Winston and the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network.Last updated:
Browser extensions like adblockers keep ads from appearing on your screen, but they don’t prevent you from being watched, or your data from being collected and stored. They also can’t protect you from being tracked by the ever-increasing number of smart home devices on your home network – from smart speakers to game systems to smart TVs to smart thermostats. Winston does all of the above.
Some ad blockers only strip visible advertising from the web pages you visit while leaving the underlying tracking technologies in place, even when you use privacy-protection plugins or scripts. Winston removes all the underlying tracking technologies.
Ad blockers typically do not work well, if at all, on cell phones and other devices, whereas Winston works on all the devices on your entire network.
Advertisers pay ad blocking companies to bypass their blocklists, whereas with Winston you can control your own block lists in addition to the daily updates you’ll receive as part of your subscription. Most importantly, Winston is paid for by YOU and does not accept any such data sharing deals. Remember, if the product is free, you’re the product.
Also, ad blockers use up memory, slowing down your computer and occasionally crashing your browser as they run. In contrast, Winston speeds up your web browsing by blocking tracking scripts. See this article for more details about how Winston speeds up your internet browsing.
After setting up Winston, we recommend uninstalling or disabling any ad blockers that you may be using while on the Winston network as they are not adding any functionality beyond what Winston provides and are just slowing your browsing experience.Last updated:
Winston does not provide antivirus capabilities at this time.Last updated:
As soon as you plug Winston in, it begins protecting your network.
You'll also need one of the Winston browser extensions for Winston's anti-fingerprinting capabilities, for on-the-fly whitelisting, and to see immediate domain-specific statistics about your privacy protections. These extensions are currently available for Chrome and Firefox, desktop versions. We are working on a Winston browser extension for Safari desktop, but do not currently have an estimate for when it will be available for use.
In addition, you will need a browser to access the setup pages and the Winston dashboard. Here you'll be able to view reports on Winston's protection of your online privacy, as well as provide you the ability to modify blocked and allowed lists, set a PIN, modify parental controls, and change Winston settings.Last updated:
A lifetime subscription entitles to you the same ongoing updates to Winston's firmware, filters, and allowed and blocked domain lists as the standard subscription, but without any monthly or annual fees.
The lifetime subscription is yours for as long as you wish to use it, is able to be used with any one Winston at a time, and can be transferred to a new Winston device if you replace your Winston hardware. Lifetime subscriptions are not transferable between accounts.Last updated:
Your monthly service subscription comes with daily updates to our anti-tracking and antimalware database, encrypted DNS, unlimited cloaked bandwidth and software updates.
If your subscription lapses, your Winston Privacy Filter will continue to function but at a reduced level of functionality:
1) You will not receive updates to or new features and functionality. You will continue to receive security firmware updates.
2) You will not receive automatic updates to filters and block lists, but you can manually update them as you'd like.
3) Your Winston will not provide encrypted DNS, which would prevent ISPs or malicious actors from intercepting and spying on your domain traffic.
4) You will not have access to the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network, and therefore there will be no anonymization scrambling.
5) Customer support is no longer available.Last updated:
Test users are currently successfully using Xbox, Playstation, Steam, and even mobile apps. Winston is keeping up very well with their data needs, and we have had few reported issues.
Regarding throughput, Winston supports up to 1GB/sec bandwidth, well in excess of what most ISPs provide. If your ISP is slower, you will be limited by their connection speed. Winston's performance will also be affected by the number of devices and applications actively running on a network. It's designed to easily handle a workload of a typical home network with multiple laptops, phones, tablets and smart devices.
We've been asked about Winston handling DDoS attacks from other players. We're always improving Winston and putting strong DDoS rules in the firewall in Winston is on the roadmap. We don't have an exact delivery date on that capability, but I don't think we're far away from including it. So, it's not perfect, but one advantage Winston has against DDoS attacks right now is the Distributed Privacy Mesh anonymized network. Your IP address to the outside world changes every 10 minutes, creating a challenge for attackers to target you for a DDoS attack.
Happy gaming!Last updated:
Yes, it does!Last updated:
We've been careful to work only with extensively-vetted suppliers and partners. We use chips and parts supplied by Marvell, a reputable, US based company, and the boards are assembled in China. Final assembly is handled in California.Last updated:
Typically, a home network is set up with a modem and a router:
Wall Jack -> Modem -> Router -> Computers and other Devices.
Winston is installed between them:
Wall Jack -> Modem -> WINSTON -> Router -> Computers and other Devices.
_What is a modem (which is type of "Gateway")_
A modem takes the signal from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and translates it (modulates/demodulates it) into a signal the other devices on your home network can use. A modem is usually a device inside your home and is the first device connected from your wall jack.
Some service providers, especially those using a fiber network, install a device outside the home to modulate/demodulate the internet signal before it enters the home. That device is often called an Optical Network Terminal (ONT). In that case, the line coming into the home does not need an additional modem to translate the line. With Winston, your network in this case will be set up as Wall Jack -> WINSTON -> Router -> Computers and other Devices.
_What is a router_
A router is a device that connects your devices to one another by creating a Local Area Network (LAN), managing the traffic between the devices, and assigning a local IP address to those devices. By doing so, your devices can share files and other peripherals like hard drives or printers. Most routers have WiFi capabilities, so those devices don't need to be hardwired to the router to have access to the LAN. In addition, routers create a firewall to provide additional security for the devices in the LAN.
Most people connect a router to a modem, so the devices on the router's LAN all have access to the internet.
_What is a combination, or all-in-one, modem/router?_
An all-in-one modem/router combines the functionality of both a modem and a router. Currently, Winston is not intended for use with only a combination device, and most users will want to also get a standalone router. More information is available here:
At this time, everything connected to Winston from the LAN port will be protected by Winston. If a device uses specific domains, you can whitelist those and the device will essentially work without Winston.
Alternatively, you could set your network up as follows to have a device not on the Winston network:
Wall jack --> modem --> router* --> (one port of router leads to device you don't want on the Winston network), (another port leads to Winston --> router --> other devices to be protected by Winston)
If you have a combination device, it would look like this:
Wall jack --> combo modem/router* --> (one port of router leads to device you don't want on the Winston network), (another port leads to Winston --> router --> other devices to be protected by Winston)
*you probably need to open ports 7777 and 7776 for Winston to work properly.Last updated:
Operating System: Linux
Firmware/core Winston service: Go (Golang)
Dashboard (future): Angular
Firewall: iptablesLast updated:
How will being a part of the Winston Distributed Privacy Mesh Network affect people with relatively slow connections or monthly data caps from their ISP?
By default, each Winston becomes a part of the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network. This peer-to-peer network anonymizes any individual user's traffic by routing it though 20-30 other Winstons on the network before moving on to another set of Winstons. Each Winston selects other Winstons and routes traffic based on a proprietary algorithm that ensures fairly traded bandwidth, while balancing bandwidth, latency, reliability, and history so that over time your routing will continue to improve.
Because Winston doesn't route large data files such as downloads or streaming through the mesh network and other traffic doesn't generally use much bandwidth, being a part of the mesh network doesn't typically add much bandwidth usage for any individual Winston. And, bandwidth used by the mesh network is offset to some extent because everyone's use of the internet, including your own, will likely see a dramatic reduction in page requests (67%) and data usage (45%) as measured in our most recent benchmark crawl of the Quantcast 500.
It is difficult to predict how much of an impact being a part of the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network will have on any individual user's bandwidth usage. However, Winston intelligently routes traffic to other Winstons whose connection speeds and usage are similar. So, Winstons with slower connections, such as those in rural areas with cellular-based, metered networks, will have less mesh traffic flow through the device than Winstons with faster speeds, and will also use less bandwidth over time from other Winstons.
Users are able to prevent their Winston's use in the Distributed Privacy Mesh Network with a toggle in the Advanced Settings tab of Winston. That will prevent anyone else's Winston from using yours for the mesh network, and it'll also prevent you from using the network. While that eliminates the IP scrambling and associated anonymization the mesh network would otherwise provide you, it still gives you all of Winston's other privacy protections. We do not recommend turning the mesh network off and on regularly, as the mesh network protocols will identify your Winston as not being an active, reliable contributor to the network and it will take some time for your routing to improve again to its peak efficiency.Last updated:
The line that comes to your home is part of your ISP's Wide Area Network (WAN), and has a "public IP address". The signal that is translated by the modem is still part of the WAN and maintains that public IP address.
With Winston, the public IP address coming into your modem won't change, but Winston sends a private IP address to your router, irrespective of whether the modem is in bridge or all-in-one mode. The local IP addresses assigned by the router to the devices on the LAN don't change. If the router is in bridge mode, then Winston assigns a private IP to the devices.Last updated:
This was an intentional decision on our part because Torrent is used for so much illegal content and file sharing that is expressly prohibited by our Terms of Service.Last updated:
Close to the estimated shipment date for each reward tier, fulfillment surveys will be sent to individual backers via BackerKit, a tool that helps manage post-Kickstarter activities. You will receive a tracking number via email once we ship your reward.
Deliveries within the USA typically take 3-5 business days. Delivery times to Canada and the UK can vary depending on the customs process of each country, but typically take 5-10 business days.
*For reward tiers with estimated delivery in July:*
Fulfillment surveys will be sent on approximately July 15. (To allow for payment processing to be completed, BackerKit recommends that the first fulfillment survey be sent approximately two weeks after the end of our campaign for reward tiers with estimated delivery dates in July.)
Depending on the fulfillment survey responses, most July tier rewards will ship the week of July 22. The remainder will ship by July 31.
*For reward tiers with estimated delivery in August:*
Fulfillment surveys will be sent on approximately July 30.
Half of the August tier rewards are expected to ship the week of August 12 and the other half the week of August 23.
*For reward tiers with estimated delivery in October:*
Fulfillment surveys will be sent in September, with shipments completed by the end of October. More specific dates will be announced in September.Last updated:
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