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article imageWhistleblower-friendly anonymous router mysteriously vanishes

By James Walker     Jul 15, 2015 in Technology
The creators of a Wi-Fi router that would have helped whistle-blowers to mask their real locations when online have mysteriously cancelled the project without explanation. The news was announced on the firm's Twitter account, to disbelief from followers.
ProxyHam was designed by Ben Caudill, the founder of consultancy firm Rhino Security Labs. It was designed to broadcast Wi-Fi over the 900MHz wavelength, as opposed to the 2.4GHz or 5GHz wavelengths commercially used for Wi-Fi today.
This meant that users would have been able to connect to it from up to 2.5 miles away, using a special antenna. The router could have been hidden somewhere with an Internet connection and then used from miles around. If the router was found, the owner would not be located too as they may not even be in ProxyHam's immediate vicinity.
The device would have been a DIY bare-bones kit costing around $200. It was designed to make it easier for whistle-blowers to expose their information to the public without being caught by law enforcement.
The device was supposed to have been making an appearance and formal revealing at the Defcon security conference next month. However, Caudill unexpectedly announced last week that he has cancelled the event and halted development of ProxyHam.
Using the Rhino Security Labs Twitter account, Caudill wrote: "Effective immediately, we are halting further dev on #proxyham and will not be releasing any further details or source for the device. Existing #proxyham units will be disposed of and no longer be made available at @_defcon_", adding "We will also be immediately cancelling the @caudillbenjamin talk at @_defcon_ on #proxyham and #whistleblower #anonymity"
In replies to incredulous responses to the tweets, Rhino Security proceeded to say that they had not sold ProxyHam development. The company added that they "cannot make anything open source or publicly available" and that no further details will be revealed.
The reasons behind this unexpected turn may never be known. The limited information and sudden halt just weeks before an important debut talk have led many to speculate that U.S. government intervention may have been the cause of the shutdown and disposal of units.
Initial rumours had suggested that the FCC had slammed the brakes on because of the safety of the device's antennas. ProxyHam downplayed this though, saying the 900MHz antennas were capped at 1-watt and fully complied with FCC regulation.
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