There is a lot of buzz over routing devices that are built to use the popular anonymization service, TOR. Anonabox and InvizBox are the two popular devices for purchase. However, you can also use a Raspberry Pi as a anonymizing TOR device as well. As all controversial topics go, some people think these are worthless while others think they’re anonymizing silver bullets. Truthfully, they land somewhere in the middle. Shocking I know.
The guys over at Ars Technica did a good review on the Anonabox and InvizBox to include the good, the bad, and the ugly on each one. This is a good place to start if you’re interested by the topic and haven’t heard anything about it.
What’s the point? Anonymity. That is oversimplified to prove a point. Being anonymous online isn’t really the easiest thing to do. TOR is one of the most popular ways to go at it, however, it isn’t enough alone. That fact alone proves that these devices aren’t a silver bullet for anonymous browsing. TOR also tends to be used for illegitimate or malicious activities. Due to the malicious nature of the actions, there are a lot of eyes watching what’s going on. If your goal is anonymity then people watching is literally the last thing you want.
This leads to a common argument to use an unattributable VPN instead of TOR. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details on that but honestly, a truly unattributable VPN is borderline impossible to get. You might be able to fly under the radar a little better for a little while. The downside here is that TOR is a web of confusion and a VPN is single step of obfuscation.
The question really is, what is your reason for wanted anonymity? Are you doing illegal things? Are you just trying to avoid monitoring? Find your purpose and take the appropriate measures. Use several different layers of obfuscation. What good is TOR if you send someone an email from your GMail account? What good is a VPN if your machine has host level monitoring on it?
Long story short, TOR-enabled devices are cool. However, they aren’t going to keep you safe and anonymous. If you need absolute anonymity then don’t use anything attributable to you. NOTHING. Not even your favorite words or style. Everything that defines you will lead to you.