Cheap wifi privacy device pulled with no explanation

A planned Defcon talk around a low-cost privacy device called ProxyHam has been cancelled.

ProxyHam was billed as a router broadcasting on a 900MHz connection which the owner could then connect to from a considerable distance of up to several miles away. The parts required were relatively simple and cost less than $200 according to Ars Technica.

The project was to be the subject of a talk at the Las Vegas Defcon conference in August, given by it’s inventor Ben Caudill, founder of security consultancy Rhino Security Labs.

The Defcon page promoting the talk said:

“From the US to China and beyond, anonymity on the internet is under fire – particularly for whistleblowers. National interests are pushing for greater control and monitoring of internet content, often invoking harsh punishments for informers and journalists, if caught. 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.

To resolve this issue, I present ProxyHam, a hardware device which utilizes both WiFi and the 900Mhz band to act as a hardware proxy, routing local traffic through a far-off wireless network – and significantly increasing the difficulty in identifying the true source of the traffic. In addition to a demonstration of the device itself, full hardware schematics and code will be made freely available.”

However, as Business Insider reports, Rhino Security Labs tweeted recently: “Effective immediately, we are halting further dev on #proxyham and will not be releasing any further details or source for the device.”

In a followup tweet the company said: “Proxyham was not sold but can’t go into any further details on the research or corresponding @_defcon_ talk.”

Author , ESET

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