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Janus team launches "Privacy Adaptor"

Janus team launches "Privacy Adaptor"

The JanusPA provides TOR or OpenVPN routed encrypted tunnels to keep your browsing habits a secret.

If you're looking for ways to increase your privacy in the increasingly-monitored online world, it's worth checking out a neat little project by the Janus team.

As reported over on Hack a Day, the team – most famously responsible for the creation of the Linux-based JanusVM virtual machine created to allow people to use TCP-based applications anonymously and without censorship or monitoring – has published a preview of their in-line hardware-based “Privacy Adaptor.”

The tiny device features two Ethernet ports – one for your PC or switch to connect to, and the other for your WAN connection – and routes all traffic across either the TOR encrypted network or a compatible virtual private network via OpenVPN.

Based around a GumStix Connex 400mx mini-motherboard, the system provides client-independent encryption and traffic anonymity for any TCP-connected computer – and if OpenVPN is used, extends that support to UDP and ICMP traffic as well.

With censorship and monitoring increasing apace around the world, JanusPA is likely to garner interest from privacy advocates and governments alike. The gadget isn't without its problems, of course: while the SSL performance is none too shabby for such a small device, the adaptor is only as good as the network it routes its traffic over – and in the case of TOR your data can end up being routed three times around the world, resulting in extremely poor performance. Still, if you worry about your privacy on-line, it's a neat and portable hack to help keep your secrets secret.

Tempted to build a JanusPA yourself, or are these devices only ever used by individuals with something to hide? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
mclean007 23rd December 2008, 14:19 Quote
Clever, but kind of pointless. As far as I can see, the only people who need to encrypt their traffic are either (a) doing something illegal, in which case we really shouldn't be encouraging the use of devices that make it easier (and in any case my understanding is that TOR is so slow you wouldn't want to use it for e.g. file sharing), or (b) working in an environment (e.g. secret service, military, etc.) which will already have strong encryption protocols in place. Anyway, can't you just use a software proxy to route traffic over TOR?
airchie 23rd December 2008, 15:01 Quote
There's a third type of person you didn't list.
They type of person who objects to ISP sniffing their traffic for monetary gain without explicit permission ala Phorm et al.
This would defeat that.

I think its a great idea tbh.
Those people doing illegal things will do it anyway and usually be paranoid enough to cover their tracks anyway.
Skepsis 23rd December 2008, 15:53 Quote
Quick, to the pedo cave!
n3mo 23rd December 2008, 16:43 Quote
Well, here in Eastern Europe there is no net monitoring at all (our law prohibits such actions) so it's not our problem. When i look at what is happening in UK it seems ridiculous for me.
DXR_13KE 23rd December 2008, 17:31 Quote
pedobear approves this device...
<Blake> 23rd December 2008, 17:39 Quote
the fourth type of person is someone who dosn't like governments filtering their internet, such as Saudi Arabia, china, and soon to be Australia (where you can get a free internet filter that is opt-in, and only 2% of the pop got it... so the government thinks everyone wants it).
Zut 23rd December 2008, 19:34 Quote
Why does anyone expect their surfing habits to be private?? Would you avoid shopping on the highstreet or going to the library unless you were somehow invisible?

I dont understand this whole kneejerk privacy thing at all.
n3mo 23rd December 2008, 20:57 Quote
@Zut
Maybe do some reading. Would you like to go shopping on the highstreet with someone following you and writing down everything you bought/showed interest in and than send you a ton of ads about similar things? Thats exactly what companies like Phorm are doing. And it's not just ads - some companies use this data to change the price accordingly - when they know that you are buying lots of the same stuff (take expensive coffee for example) they can give you a "special" price - and it's not "bad sci-fi", one of the online PC shops did this to me - one day I noticed that the prices of some stuff I bought lots of are a little higher when I log in than than when not logged in.

And the other thing - would you like it if some day your job application would get thrown away because your potential boss got a report from a tracking company saying that you have an interest in young redheads? Or because of something you said on a political forum a few years ago?

Would you like someone to watch what movies you like, what books you read (if any), what kind of girls you like, what are the names of your family members, what you buy, what is your financial status, credit rating and so on? Bet you wouldn't like that one bit, but guess what, that's exactly the data marketing companies gather online.
LordPyrinc 24th December 2008, 05:35 Quote
We should all have some sense of privacy. Its bullshit that we keep getting our rights taken away. Besides, no one has the resources to track all online traffic. If you do dumb sh*t, you should be watched, else leave the rest of us average users alone.
Huxen5 27th December 2008, 15:21 Quote
Well put, n3mo! The government wants it because, after all, knowledge is power and if its recorded by someone the government can essentially force them to hand the information over citing anti-terrorism crap.

*smash* "AAAGH!" *crash* *bang*.... "HELP...", *mumbled words and crying*

...Uhh...I formally retract my statement...I was confused about the topic and introduced a false conversational element, which...uhh...i firmly..uhh...disagree with.Completely...because everything is totally great...*gulp*

Hello Echelon! How's the coffee?
Blarte 11th February 2010, 17:05 Quote
if governmental types wish to know my pron browsing habits they only need ask I am happy to recommend my favourite sites ....
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