In a post-Edward Snowden world where the world has been made aware of the spying tactics of the NSA and its ilk, many people are looking for a way to keep their online activity safe and secure from prying eyes. Those with the technical chops to do so have adopted Tor, a service that was originally developed for the primary purpose of protecting government communications in the US but has become the go-to service for journalists, activists and government officials looking to keep their identities secret online.
Tor describes itself as “a network of virtual tunnels” anonymises your browsing traffic by pushing it through multiple random Tor nodes before exiting at a different IP address. Tor can be a hassle to set up though, especially for those who aren’t familiar with how to set up and there are devices like iPhones which don’t have a Tor client for them.
In steps Safeplug, a $49 (R500) linux-based device which uses a combination of Tor and a proxy server to accomplish all of the identity trickery in a simple to use package that plugs into your home router. Since the bouncing around of your identity through a Tor of your browsing can create a latency issue, things like streaming video and online gaming will be affected but Safeplug will allow you to whitelist certain browsing activity to get around this issue. In fact you can even segregate browsers so that all of your browsing in Firefox will be anonymised but nothing from Chrome.
For the security conscious of you out there who are keen on a Safeplug, you unfortunately can’t get one delivered straight to South Africa yet but if you have a friend going to the US ask them to grab you one while they’re there.