Tor and VPN services are the most popular ways of anonymizing your online presence. But a lesser known platform, JonDonym, provides a similar solution that has certain advantages over Tor and VPN.
JonDonym is a package consisting of several components. The most important is a proxy client called JonDo.
JonDo forwards traffic from Web browsers, chat clients, email and all other Internet applications to a network of independent proxy servers. Because each proxy server is run by a different individual and the traffic is forwarded randomly through the web of proxies, no single proxy administrator can monitor all of your traffic.
JonDo also encrypts the traffic before it is forwarded, providing another layer of security.
If JonDo sounds a lot like Tor, that’s because the two privacy tools work similarly. But the main advantage of JonDo over Tor is speed. Since JonDo uses a smaller network of proxies, it offers better speed, according to the tool’s creators — as long as you sign up for the one of the premium service options, which start at a price of 5 euros/month.
A free version of the service is also available, but it caps bandwidth at 30-50 kBits/second. Ports and file sizes are also restricted in the free version of JonDo.
JonDo also offers advantages over VPN servers and traditional proxies. Both of those forward traffic through a single third-party location in order to mask a user’s online identity. The people running the VPN or proxy server can therefore monitor you. As noted above, JonDo works around that challenge by routing traffic through a web of independent proxy servers.
JonDo installers are available for Windows, Mac OS X, the major Linux distributions and Android. If you want to try out the service without installing it on your main computer system, you can use a Linux-based live DVD that comes with JonDo baked in.
2 thoughts on “Using JonDonym’s Proxy Service for Online Privacy”
Honest question, how is trusting this service to route your data any different than trusting a VPN to route your data? What is stopping them from routing all traffic through a servers they control?
Good point — I think this falls under the category of pitfalls of closed-source privacy software. The developers say the software does not route traffic through a single server. You have to take their word for it that that is true since you can’t see the code.
There may be other ways of figuring out what happens to the traffic, such as traceroutes, without the code — but of course those methods are not foolproof.
If JonDo does actually route traffic through multiple proxies as described, it’s better than a VPN, where everything goes through a central server.