PAPARouter Review, Freedom Hacker

PAPARouter Review

Update: PaPaRouter has unknowingly disappeared and their domain has been redirected to various ads. We have since de-linked their domain.

When it comes to routing security, there are very limited options. There are VPN Routers, and a few custom setups, but thats about it. There are few options when it comes strictly to routing security. Some router setups can be a bit complex, and adding the VPN may not always work. Initial setup can be confusing for users, and knowing if your VPN connection is working may be an issue too. There are many complications when it comes to router security.

Routers are just one step to online security, another is needing to protect your online identity. With recent NSA revelations, running internet out of the box is a huge red flag. With hackers, the NSA, trackers, and many others threats out to get you, securing yourself online is essential. There are a lot of essentials today that are needed for security.

The TOR Project has since become popular after ex NSA contractor and whistle blower, Edward Snowden, notified the public of the global spy grid. Tor is usually a downloadable program. Users download the files, install the program, and use the custom set browser. There have been many innovations with Tor such as Tor based operating systems, and now Tor based routers.

The PAPARouter claims to be the all in one Tor router. PAPARouter is just that. The PAPARouter is a small router that runs strictly through the Tor network. The router is a very small device that is built for plug and play anonymity. There is more to anonymity than just your IP address, but the PAPARouter does just as advertised.

PAPARouter Full Review: When you first open the PAPARouter it comes with a wall charger, power cord, the PAPARouter, and small screw in antenna. It also comes with a small paper telling you your network details, password, and how it all works. The PAPARouter runs off of an already on router, this is not a standalone router. While testing the PAPARouter I plugged my PAPA router into my Asus RT-N66U Tomato router via an Ethernet port. Within seconds the PAPARouter boots up and shows up in your network connections. Type in the password on the paper it came with and wala, your connected.

The small portable router is supposed to run strictly through the Tor network. Checking my connection with the official “Are you using Tor?” tool, sure enough it was working. Doing multiple tests my IP, DNS, and other tools were running strictly through the Tor network. Using Tor over the years, speed has significantly increased. Moving from 30Kb/s many years ago, the Tor network runs at around 300Kb/s on average (from personal testing). While using the PAPARouter I was personally seeing stable speeds of 600Kb/s. The PAPARouter made the Tor network usable for daily usage. The Tor network isn’t usually built for daily usage, but the PAPARouter changes that.

While the PAPARouter shows it has power in such a small device, they also enhance security with one more step. PAPARouter has blocked all USA nodes, and a large list of others. With recent revelations public security advocates are worried that USA nodes may be run by the NSA. The PAPARouter sure enough has a strong firewall that blocks all USA nodes, amongst hundreds of others. Restarting the router multiple times, getting a new identity, sure enough all nodes routed outside of the countries listed below. I did not restart the router hundreds of time to test all countries, but all nodes routed outside of the listed countries. The PAPARouter blocks the following countries that are alleged to be friendly with intelligence agencies  United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,  Friendly countries to US/UK intelligence (British Commonwealth): Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Cyprus, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Zambia. With the following countries blocked that leaves 140 countries still able to connect to.

PAPARouter sure has done their research within the device. Connecting multiple devices at one time, the PAPARouter could withstand and produce enough power. The PAPARouter internet speeds may vary, as it relies on the Tor network. But the actual routing power was great. Below are pictures of the device, and its portable size (note I am no photographer, but the unit is in a small clear plastic casing)

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Front of the PAPARouter has an SD card plugged in, and a small port on the right for power.

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Back of the PAPARouter has an Ethernet Port, and two USB ports.

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One side of the PAPARouter has a yellow and blue plug in port (the blue is audio, yellow is composite video, the ports are unused)

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PAPARouter compared next to the Ninjastik and regular sized USB stick (HDMI port on this side, again unused).

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Second side of the PAPARouter has a small plug in port, and side view of the width of the router
Router with its plug in port, full device (antenna can’t be fully seen, but its a reasonable height, nothing to large)

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Above we mention the Ninjastik (Ninjastik Review). The PAPARouter is not the same as the the Ninjastik, the Ninjastik is a USB stick with its own custom operating system that routes through Tor. The PAPARouter is a router, not a plug and play USB stick to clarify. Two total separate products, still based around Tor.

Overall the PAPARouter is a great device for plug and play anonymity. Initially receiving the device it seemed like a cool concept, but using it in action was far better than expected. It takes the hassle out of Tor. It also appears as its own network, so one click and your connected. The PAPARouter is a great device but a little bit pricy for the whole system. The PAPARouter is out of control of the price, as it is a pre-built Onion Pi, Onion Pi’s are regularly $94.95, and for just five dollars more, you can have one pre-built, with custom software built into the SD card (a.k.a. the PAPARouter). Overall the PAPARouter is a great product for portable anonymity.

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