Winston Privacy

Reclaim your online privacy on all connected devices at home

#1 Product of the DayNovember 28, 2019
We live in a world where *we* are the product. The product of mass surveillance.
Winston is a plug-n-play hardware filter that protects you from being tracked, hacked and spied on by Government, Big Tech, Data Brokers, Hackers & Advertisers.
Would you recommend this product?
45 Reviews3.6/5
Hey Product Hunters! Years ago, I left the AdTech industry because the use of data tracking terrified me. I couldn’t keep working in a sector that was treating users’ personal information, interests and online behavior as a product to be harvested and sold. I began looking for a solution to protect users’ privacy online. That’s how we created Winston. Winston makes online privacy a priority. Because it’s a necessity, not a privilege. Connect it between your modem and router, and it protects all incoming and outgoing traffic from any device. Winston has just passed $1M in sales on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and we’ve already delivered 1000+ units to early backers. We are offering free shipping to the Product Hunt community, just use the link above to get it. Thanks for your interest and let us know any questions below!
how does it work ?
@asagib1 Winston protects your privacy by: -Scrambling your IP address across a proprietary Distributed Privacy Mesh Network, making it impossible for trackers to connect your use with your IP address -Encrypting DNS to prevent your Internet service provider (ISP) from tracking your activity and protecting your devices from DNS Rebinding attacks -Automatically blocking or modifying cookies to protect your browser history from prying eyes -Detecting and blocking fingerprinting techniques to prevent you from being tracked based on your device's unique physical manufacturing differences, even in Incognito Mode
As a privacy enthusiast, I'm naturally drawn to products like these. However, I see a couple main big problems with Winston: 1. No part of Winston is open source. This means no one can audit and verify its security/privacy. So theoretically, Winston could be tracking everything it's meant to protect and sell it to the highest bidder. 2. Seems like a network-wide VPN. While most people might not go through the trouble of configuring their routers with a VPN, that is an alternative solution. 3. Setting up a piHole would also work, eliminating the need for a product like Winston. My biggest concern is the closed source aspect. Why not open source it?
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@hiramfromthechi Because the big tech and advertising companies have millions to throw at this and we didn’t want to make it easier for them to develop potential workarounds. 2) Winston does a lot more than a Virtual Private Network (VPN) including covering all the Internet-connected devices on your network – not just your computer. VPNs encrypt the data sent to and from your computer, protecting from having your data intercepted and read by third parties such as public wifi providers and hackers. Winston does that, too. VPNs do nothing, however, to protect you from the prying eyes of adbots, trackers, and cookies, but Winston provides that protection. Some VPNs even harvest the same data those tools collect, opening up yet another window into your private data, and Winston does not. Also, Winston blocks the most sophisticated fingerprinting techniques, which exploit manufacturing differences (even between otherwise identical hardware devices) to determine who you are, even if you are in incognito mode or using a VPN. Winston obfuscates data collected by sites using fingerprinting technologies to prevent them from tracking you across browsing sessions. And, a VPN uses a single exit point (you can switch, but it’s manual). Instead, Winston is constantly scrambling your internet across up to 30 exit points every 10 minutes. This greatly reduces the confidence that an ISP (or other eavesdropper) could have in what they think they are learning about you. To maintain a quality streaming experience, Winston does not route large downloads or streaming data through the Winston privacy mesh network. 3) Winston goes far beyond Pi-Hole, even without the browser extensions we offer for Firefox and Chrome. A Pi-Hole provides the ability for you to specify domains to block and ad-blocking. But for ad-blocking it provides just host blocking. Even without the browser extensions and for non-Firefox, non-Chrome clients, Winston provides this additional protection which Pi-Hole does not: - Ad blocking based on request filtering, which is much more accurate than the host blocking which Pi-Hole provides - DNS encryption, with protection against DNS rebinding attacks. - A customizable, automatically updated blocklist of tracking and malware sites, to which you can add from well-known third-party blocklists and filters - Distributed Privacy Mesh Network for anonymization - A firewall In addition, Winston adds these with the browser extension, currently available for Firefox and Chrome: - Traffic analysis to analyze privacy risk and change security policies, modifying cookies intelligently and blocking risky connections - Anti-fingerprinting - On-the-fly whitelisting Plus, with Winston, you’re not managing a system of hardware and extensions on your own that may or may not work well together.
@richard_stokes Logically speaking, if your reasoning for close-sourcing it is because you don't want big tech to throw millions at it and develop workarounds, that can still be done even if it's closed source. You said it yourself - having virtually an unlimited budget to throw at it, if they wanted to, they could figure out workarounds regardless of it being closed source or open source. The safest thing when it comes to privacy-focused products is actually open sourcing the code so everyone can audit it. Privacy software like KeePass, Bitwarden, Cryptee, Tutanota, (and recently ProtonMail) are open-source for exactly this reason - we shouldn't have to blindly "trust" the software/the company behind it, we should be able to verify its privacy/security practices. And the only way to verify it is to open source the code. Gonna be a hard pass for me, but good luck with the launch & wish you success.
@richard_stokes @hiramfromthechi I have millions to chuck at a project. I buy the product. I reverse engineer it. I build my own. Be brave and open source it.
@razkarmi Hey. Yes, Winston was featured a year ago, but it was not available for pre-orders. We talked to PH support and they approved us posting now :)
This is super cool, well done @richard_stokes ! I think more and more users are starting to care about privacy and it will be a key trend in the coming years. I'm curious how much of your software stack is open source and easy to audit?
Hey, thanks a lot @alxcnwy The software stack is not open source :)
@alxcnwy Because the big tech and advertising companies have millions to throw at this and we didn’t want to make it easier for them to develop potential workarounds.