April 23, 2019 read, explore

ProxyHam Development Mysteriously Ends

A Wifi router geared toward protecting user’s privacy had made news a couple weeks ago. Now, the router which would of cost customers $200, is dead. The company behind the device, Rhino Security Labs,  announced through their Twitter account that development had ceased.

The router is capable of allowing users to use the internet anonymously. Someone using a ProxyHam could connect to a wifi network up to 2.5 miles away. Even if a ProxyHam user was tracked, the person looking for them would only find the ip of the actual ProxyHam unit. The ip of a ProxyHam by itself would be pretty useless to someone trying to find the ProxyHam user. 

Ben Caudill is a researcher at Rhino Security Labs and explained how anonymity services are currently flawed. 

“While a range of technologies (such as ToR) can provide some level of anonymity, a fundamental flaw still exists: a direct relationship between IP address and physical location. If your true IP is ever uncovered, it’s game over – a significant threat when your adversary owns the infrastructure.”

 The project was reportedly aimed at protecting whistleblower’s identities. Of course, the router could also be used to protect political activists and others. But the government was probably worried that bad guys would use the device. While it’s true that it would make law enforcement surveillance a bit harder, but should that fact keep ordinary Americans who value privacy from getting such a device?

Not only did they say that development had stopped, but the company is also going to destroy its remaining prototype units.

What makes the whole thing even stranger is that the company refuses to elaborate on why development has stopped. Many around the internet are suspecting some kind of government interference. It is likely that the government–especially our government–wouldn’t want such a device to be readily available to consumers.

There’s definitely something weird going on at Rhino Security Labs. Would a company halt development on such a marketable project on their own? Probably not. Even if they did decide on their own that they didn’t want to produce the ProxyHam, they’d most likely explain their reasoning.

If you’re really in to privacy, then you shouldn’t be to worried about the news. The ProxyHam is a rather basic piece of hardware that, at its base, is a raspberry pi a compact computer you can buy for $35. Since the project has received so much attention, it’s possible that a company other than Rhino Security Labs may try to market a similar product.

[Photo by Ben Caudill]

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