As promised, the Open Wireless Movement's new sharing-friendly, privacy-minded router operating system was unveiled at HOPE X in New York last weekend.
The OS, a joint project of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Mozilla, Free Press and others, is in "hacker alpha" and not ready for everyday use. It is designed to allow people to safely share their Internet connections with their neighbors; while also providing anonymization, encryption; a secure updating protocol that is designed to foil spies, hackers and cops who compromise routers with "lawful interception" tricks; and network-wide privacy-by-default for all users. They're looking for developers to help them build out and perfect these features:
* Allow small business and home users to easily enable an open network, so guests and passersby can get an Internet connection if they need one, while keeping a password-locked WPA2 network for themselves and their friends or coworkers.
* Let you share a bounded portion of your bandwidth on the open network, so guest users cannot slow down your Internet connection or use a large portion of your monthly quota.2
* Provide state-of-the-art network queuing, so most users can expect an improved Internet experience—especially with latency-sensitive applications—compared to what commonly available consumer grade routers are delivering today.
* Offer a minimalist, secure, and elegant Web user interface to set up and configure the router. Advanced, non-minimalist administrative options are accessible by SSH.
* Advance the state of the art in consumer Wi-Fi router security and begin turning back the growing tide of attacks against them. Most or all existing router software is full of XSS and CSRF vulnerabilities, and we want to change that.
* Include a secure software auto-update mechanism. In addition to using HTTPS, firmware signatures and metadata are fetched via Tor to make targeted update attacks very difficult.
Calling All Hackers: Help Us Build an Open Wireless Router [Peter Eckersley, Jacob Hoffman-Andrews and Ranga Krishnan/EFF]