More and more people are worried about their privacy online, so products and solutions aiming to protect people against tracking, targeted ads, cookies, and various other threat have been popping up. Fingbox and Firewalla are such devices, but their hardware may be limited, and software solutions like PiHole are also an option, but may not be suitable for everyone.
Winston privacy filter is another plug-and-play solution, but based on an actual network processor, namely a Marvell ARMADA dual core Arm Cortex-A53 SoC, that should make sure your network performance is not impacted, and even provides a boost of performance for most visited websites due to the resources that are being blocked out.
Winston “privacy filter” hardware specifications:
- SoC – Marvell ARMADA dual core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.0 GHz with security and data acceleration engines
- System Memory – 1GB DDR4 @ 800 MHz
- Storage – TBD
- Networking – Dual Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) for WAN and LAN
- Dimensions – 117 x 66.85 x 24.8 mm
The device runs Linux, and ships with two Ethernet cables, and a power adapter.
The prototype video above shows the mainboard is designed by Globalscale Technologies, and it looks to be a heavily-customized version of the company’s ESPRESSOBin board. That means Winston is likely based on Marvell Armada 3700LP (88F3720) processor, and that’s a good thing as the company can leverage the software support for the community board.
The solution is really plug-and-play, as all you need to do it is to connect the WAN port to your ISP’s router, and the LAN port to another router or switch. If you have WiFi devices make sure they connect to the router behind Winston, and not your ISP’s router or they won’t be protected.
According to a table shared by the company, Winston does much more than VPN, Ad Blockers, firewall, or anti-spyware and anti-malware programs, as it prevents third-party data collection, anonymize your location, and works without issue with video streaming services, among other benefits.
Some of the claims in the table above may be disputed, e.g. Ad Blockers may also speed up your connection, and good VPN services should be able to anonymize your web browsing, but it gives an idea of the capabilities of the device. Randomization is achieved by routing traffic through 20 to 30 other Winston units, a bit the way the Tor networks operates.
An online dashboard allows you to inspect blocked ads and trackers, view network health, monitor activity, adjust your privacy settings, and view detailed usage reports. There are also plugins for Firefox, Chrome, and soon Safari to further improve your privacy and make your browsing experience more versatile, e.g. you can temporarily disable Winston on specific websites.
Winston privacy filter launched on Kickstarter a few weeks ago, and with 11 days to go they have raised close to $300,000 greatly surpassing their $20,000 funding goal. Rewards start at $349 with Winston and a lifetime subscription. The box apparently allows you to drop paying for your VPN, so it may pay off overtime, provided the company stays afloat… Contrary to most crowdfunded project, Winston is not quite available worldwide, and you’ll only be able to get it shipped to one of three countries: the United States ($9), Canada ($25), and the United Kingdom ($29). Backers can expect their rewards in October 2019 if everything goes according to plans.
Thanks to TLS for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.