Author Topic: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work  (Read 11202 times)

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Offline marcan

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Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« on: October 15, 2014, 01:30:12 pm »
This one is shaping up to be fun.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/augustgermar/anonabox-a-tor-hardware-router

So, Tor in a box. Sounds fine, right? Nothing wrong with the idea, perfectly plausible hardware, probably won't perform that well doing crypto on that CPU but it ought to be good enough to work, right?

Except their claimed custom design is
clone. Which you can buy here. At less than half the price. With free shipping. What about their previous prototypes?


One, check. Two, Check. Three, same module, different baseboard (and a proportionally smaller image to make it look like an improvement when it's much larger). And of course the aforementioned fourth one.

It's obvious, right? Noone would ever fall for this one. Certainly not Wired, TechCrunch, The Verge, The Guardian, PC World, and IEEE Spectrum...  :palm:

$20 Chinese router + OpenWRT + one week to duct tape the software together + trending towards $4M in pledges at $50 each = $2M profit, give or take. Nice. At least they're getting called out on it on Reddit...
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 03:33:08 pm »
I was wondering what was inside that small router. I would have guessed since they say it can do anything and run tor like no other, it would have much beefier insides. Maybe they are going to do 2M$ worth of amazing development for the openwrt/linux running in the box?

Gen2: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dpt-board-linux-and-wifi-becomes-easy there was a thread on this forum too...
 

Offline Dongulus

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 06:08:44 pm »
The comments on the Kickstarter page are entertaining, especially the crusade by user "David Schlesinger" to discredit all of the "trolls" and their reasonable concerns. 
 

Offline ferrix

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 03:38:13 am »
Concerns about the hardware are a distraction, IMO.  The real problem is that this device will offer little beyond a false sense of security.  Tor is not a magic security system, it's more like a slow, automatic VPN.  People will just use their normal internet identities and behavior through Tor and start doing riskier activities, not understanding that they are still very traceable. 

In order to have real security, you need OS-level Tor awareness, and a reasonable understanding of what behavior can identify you despite changing and obscuring the traffic source.  Anything less is Doing It Wrong.  And this project encourages everyone to pay for the privilege of doing it wrong.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 03:05:05 pm by ferrix »
 

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Offline Chipguy

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2014, 06:29:39 am »
Yeah all that is WAY too obvious!

Somebody had an interesting idea to make money.
Good work guys for finding that out  :-+
Where is that smoke coming from?
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2014, 08:57:47 am »
It seems like all these rants are because of being jealous. Smart guy, sold sand to the people of Sahara and ice to people of Arctic... :clap:
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2014, 09:40:19 am »
Quote
all these rants are because of being jealous

There is an element of that, but the real problem is that the chap lied through his teeth about what he is selling (this is not, and cannot be, open hardware). If he lies about such obvious things, how can you know when he lies about less obvious ones, like whether he is going to ship anything at all?

 

Offline marcan

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 10:35:06 am »
Hah, they didn't even bother taking their own photos.... they just photoshopped the Alibaba one.

https://twitter.com/kpoulsen/status/522463109945229313

But yes, the main problem here is that this is grossly misrepresenting the product. Furthermore, it seems the guy running this doesn't *actually* know much about how Tor works, and is just going for buzzwords. An analysis of the software that they published shows it's merely an insecurely configured OpenWRT build.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 10:57:43 am »
It seems like all these rants are because of being jealous. Smart guy, sold sand to the people of Sahara and ice to people of Arctic... :clap:

There is a bit of that, yes.  Jealousy, for sure. When you see a guy getting 100k for a stupid idea, and not even deliever...yea...hard not to.

I love the people that raise a ruckus, and claim they are trying to "protect the consumer form being ripped off!!!  I'm a night in shining armor!  Ma' lady!"....when you don't really care about the consumer.  It's all about a bruised ego.  Those people are as guilt as the KS scams.

 I'm not talking about solar road ways - that was more of "OMG, I can't believe sciences isn't taught in classrooms anymore".  Yet almost no one thought of that, or voiced it.

But at some point you just have to shrug and say...Caveat emptor. 



Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 11:44:49 am »
Quote
I'm a night in shining armor!  Ma' lady!"....when you don't really care about the consumer.

That may be true, but as a consumer I appreciate people like that pointing out the dodgy bits, whatever their motive, because I otherwise might take it at face value. There have been kickstarts (and Indiegogo's) that looked find to me, but after bruised egos or whatever have pointed out certain things I have seen what they really are, and thanked my lucky stars that I didn't sign up after all.

Quote
just have to shrug and say...Caveat emptor

Sure, if the consumer has all the info available. If someone wants to back this project despite knowing what we know, I see nothing wrong with that and won't call them names or imply anything about their mental state.

Maybe there is something about all these folk complaining about the ego trippers pointing out flaws, that these folk wish they'd got in there first, hmmm? What is your problem with them really? I mean, are you afraid that they will stop naive punter buying into this scam? I don't believe that's so, but it's an interpretation that is hard to disprove. Perhaps you are interpreting things similarly about those you diss...
 

Offline bookaboo

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 12:49:56 pm »
It seems like all these rants are because of being jealous. Smart guy, sold sand to the people of Sahara and ice to people of Arctic... :clap:

There is a bit of that, yes.  Jealousy, for sure. When you see a guy getting 100k for a stupid idea, and not even deliever...yea...hard not to.

I love the people that raise a ruckus, and claim they are trying to "protect the consumer form being ripped off!!!  I'm a night in shining armor!  Ma' lady!"....when you don't really care about the consumer.  It's all about a bruised ego.  Those people are as guilt as the KS scams.

 I'm not talking about solar road ways - that was more of "OMG, I can't believe sciences isn't taught in classrooms anymore".  Yet almost no one thought of that, or voiced it.

But at some point you just have to shrug and say...Caveat emptor.


I see this strange attitude a lot. We know this field and have a lot of knowledge the average Joe doesn't have, this isn't because they are dumb or lazy... they just don't have in depth expertise in this area and it's unreasonable to expect everyone to know whats up.
I see the same attitude in the audiophoolery debate, "if they are dumb enough then let them hang".

So then it should work both ways right? The communities with expertise in other areas like finance, medicine, mechanical engineering etc. etc. shouldn't voice concerns about suspect companies or products. As we are pretty dumb we deserve to get burned in these areas.
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 05:09:34 pm »
I think that Kickstarter will shut him down very soon, here is an article on the Business Insider website highlighting the scam;

http://www.businessinsider.com/anonabox-tor-wi-fi-router-could-be-fake-2014-10
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 06:25:59 pm »
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-2014-300Mbps-WT3020A-Multiprotocol-Portable-Mini-WIFI-Router-with-USB-data-line-Wireless-Router-wi/1691403728.html

How much memory and flash does this router have?

https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=48481
says:
SDRAM 32MB
FLASH 4MB

(MB = megabyte?)

http://anonabox.com/about/techspecs.php
Says anonabox has
Flash Rom   16mb
Ram   64mb

(Yes, it says mb = megabit or millibit?)

But anyways if they are going to order routers with twice the sdram and more flash it could be significantly more expensive than just getting something off the shelf from china that has been already produced in the thousands to bring price down.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 07:05:31 pm »
Of note is that the WT3020A uses a fat SOIC (wide SOIC, or 0.208"/0.3" SOIC) for its flash memory (SPI mode or 2-bit parallel-serial)
http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/543f99966bb3f7854a167b47-800-533/bz9ikdkccaatjkl.jpg

These are available up to about 32 Mbit or 4MB capacity and 64 Mbit / 8MB from a few limited manufacturers.
I am not aware of any 128 Mbit wide SOIC packages...? And the board has no capability to mount a larger chip.

The only one I could find is in a weird QFN-like package, and that's ~£5 in high quantities, or another $8.
http://uk.farnell.com/spansion/s25fl128p0xnfi001/ic-memory-flash-128m-spi-8wson/dp/1791301

Still not enough to justify charging $50 per unit.

There are versions with 64 MB of SDRAM to begin with:
http://nex.m.ecplaza.net/product/382528_3357763/nexx_wt3020a_mini_wifi.html
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 07:08:13 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2014, 08:12:44 pm »
Quote
Still not enough to justify charging $50 per unit.

Undercut him, then.

Why do people have a downer on others making a living, or even just boosting their toy budget? Do you live off benefits? No, someone makes a profit so they can pay you a wage, and I bet it's a hell of a lot bigger profit than this chap is presumed to be making!
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2014, 08:35:39 pm »
He's charging $50 for a $21 unit (with free shipping, and much cheaper in bulk order) claiming it's open source with his own software and hardware. IF he was just re-selling it and not making these claims, you'd have a point.

So I think it's pathetic he's charging $50 for it. I'm not going to undercut him because I'm not a shameless shyster. You should see the reddit AMA. He spins a web of lies, then trips over it:
http://www.reddit.com/r/anonabox/comments/2ja22g/hi_im_august_germar_a_developer_for_the_anonabox/

My favourite, emphasis mine:-
Quote
You know, reading your post specifically made me realize where some of the confusion might have come from. I think people are thinking that the term from 'scratch' means I created some whole new totally unheard of thing, but the truth is, devices like this exist and you can buy them, they just don't have the specs that I wanted, so I got an electrical engineer to help design a board with the specs I wanted. Its possible that the plans for a simple board like this are part of an introduction to engineering class somewhere for all I know. There is nothing new or magical about the hardware other than it is made to specs that run the Tor software well.

 :palm:
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 08:43:10 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2014, 08:50:03 pm »
Quote
He's charging $50 for a $21 unit

So? Before this blew up I had no idea this thing was available, and even now I do I'm not sure I want to try and buy one-off on alithingy. $30 for knowing it's what I want, where to get it, and then getting it for me seems fair enough.

Of course, YMMV but then if you don't think the sums add up you can go and get your own if you want one. No-one is stopping you. You can even offer one to me for a $25 mark up, but it's too much hassle for you.

Quote
You should see the reddit AMA

Don't need to. I know he is lying and this is a scam. You make the mistake that because I called you on the frivolous justification you used, you think I am all for this kickstarter, but the reality is that I am not. I called you because a) this is a common point people bring up when they are erroneously outraged, and b) it hides and spoils grievances that are valid.

Instead of whining on about someone else making a buck, point out that this cannot be the open source he said it is. That should be enough to put the kibosh on it by itself.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2014, 08:58:27 pm »
As I said, if he said this:
Quote
I'm buying boxes from $supplier_name and installing $software on them. The price is $50 which includes costing for my time and repackaging the devices.
I'd be fine with it (but I doubt he'd sell anything)

Instead he's said this:
Quote
I'm making boxes with open source software and hardware (implying availability of the schematics and other design files.) The designs are made by me (or electrical engineer hired by me) and it is a custom design. The software is entirely my own (based on OpenWRT but customised) and not the default OpenWRT which ships with these boxes. Here's some photos of the box that totally aren't bad photoshops of the Chinese product to remove the logo. Oh, and by the way they're $50.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 09:01:20 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2014, 11:35:47 pm »
Quote
Instead he's said this:

Well, quite. That is the basis for disliking this kickstarter, but it has nothing whatever to do with flogging a $20 item for $50, which is what I was getting at.
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2014, 08:25:55 am »
Quote
He's charging $50 for a $21 unit

Right... Everyone who has iPhone, go and find the teardown and cost of the components. Now find the difference how much you overpay for that... 3-5 times? Oh well that's normal and not surprising right? ::)
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2014, 08:31:06 am »
My disagreement is only on the DISHONESTY of charging more and claiming the product has more than the Chinese version (such as additional flash/RAM, open source hardware, etc.)

I am not complaining about someone reselling a device for a profit alone.

That being said, when someone adds $30 to a product I think they should show us how they have added $30 of value to the product. So far August Gramer has shown to be lying about almost everything.
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2014, 10:24:40 am »
My disagreement is only on the DISHONESTY of charging more and claiming the product has more than the Chinese version (such as additional flash/RAM, open source hardware, etc.)

I am not complaining about someone reselling a device for a profit alone.

That being said, when someone adds $30 to a product I think they should show us how they have added $30 of value to the product. So far August Gramer has shown to be lying about almost everything.

I completely agree with you about the honesty, however I don't understand those stupid guys who are crying because of the price difference.
 

Offline marcan

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2014, 02:42:02 pm »
Hah, he was repeatedly asked for a schematic (it's supposedly open hardware, right?), so he posted one.



"schematic".  :-DD

(It also doesn't match the unit that he's been showing all along...)
 

Offline Refrigerator

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2014, 04:46:31 pm »
I think i'm just gonna watch the show. *grabs popcorn*
Just started a blog at http://brimmingideas.blogspot.com/ . Not much in it as of now but more is sure to come :)
 

Offline LoyalServant

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2014, 05:41:41 pm »
Now suspended, and rightfully so.

What this shows is that there is real demand for such a device.
Someone should try to do it... and for real this time.
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2014, 05:50:32 pm »
Now suspended, and rightfully so.

plan B indiegogo, with flexible funding on top!
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Offline Legit-Design

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2014, 08:07:23 pm »
There does seem to be a market, which suggests that people like PogoPlug and Adafruit who actually make something like this need better marketing.

Or SOAP router. With their multi gigacore processor and android they could easily whip this thing up in no time.
 

Offline tanstaafl

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2014, 12:14:58 pm »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2014, 02:44:38 pm »
Well, they're honest, I suppose...
 

Offline LoyalServant

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2014, 01:47:41 am »
What sucks about the Invizbox is that hurdle they face after "Anonagate"

Another thing... this won't appeal to the masses.... they drink the government kool-aid or can't be bothered.
"I have nothing to hide" and so forth.

 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2014, 07:12:21 am »
Quote
that hurdle they face after "Anonagate"

Maybe. Or maybe not - Ananogate did give them a ton of publicity before they even thought of their project. If you knew of Anonagate you might know what to look for in this one, and if you didn't know of Anonagate that wouldn't affect you anyway.

As it happens, I decided that a $30 preconfigured TOR router would be cool to play with so backed this. I wouldn't have given it a second glance without the Anonagate fuss :)
 

Offline Dingo

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Re: Anonabox, or how to make $2M for a week of work
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2014, 02:32:15 pm »
 


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