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18th of November 2018

Internet



Indie ISP Offering Tor-Enabled SIM Cards - ExtremeTech

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Keeping your online activities private can be a challenge when the online world is so rife with dangers. Even your ISP or a VPN provider could technically keep a log of everything you’re doing online. The Tor network provides a possible way to anonymize your data, but it’s a pain to set up. One grassroots ISP in the UK has started offering a Tor-infused mobile product to make it simpler. The Brass Horn Onion3G is a SIM card that automatically routes all your mobile data through the Tor network — no setup required.

Tor (originally known as The Onion Router) is a volunteer-operated network of computers around the world that work together in order to route encrypted web traffic. The goal of Tor is to keep your identity private online; or at least as close to private as is possible. Misconfigurations or exploitable software on your local machine can still reveal your identity.

Every computer (or node) in Tor receives data from another node and passes it on to the next. Each Node only knows where the encrypted data came from and where it’s going next. After several hops, someone at the destination has no way of knowing who initiated the connection when you pop back up in the open internet. Tor can also provide access to so-called “hidden services” that only run inside Tor. The famed drug marketplace The Silk Road was an example of this.

Onion3G is a data-only SIM card with all the configuration hardcoded. As soon as you plug it in, your phone (or other mobile devices) will transmit all its data over Tor. Not even Brass Horn can monitor that. The company previously offered a Tor mobile plan, but that was implemented on its servers. Thus, the connection to Brass Horn was not secured.

As the name implies, this SIM card only connects over 3G service. That means a maximum throughput of a few megabits down, which is much slower than the LTE you’re probably using now. However, Tor doesn’t have that much throughput for users. Using LTE would be a waste. It’s unlikely Onion3G will even use the full capacity of a 4G connection.

Brass Horn is still beta testing Onion3G, but it hopes to charge £2 per month to keep a SIM active on a prepaid basis. Each megabyte of traffic will run users £0.025. Customers will be able to top-up any time using a credit card or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, ZCash, and Monero.

Now read: Critical VPN Security Flaw Leaks Customer IP Addresses, Tor Amps Up Its Mobile Browser Support, and 20 Best Tips to Stay Anonymous and Protect Your Online Privacy

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