Secret Surfing

We will firstly cover the anonymous browsing section, the IP address of any computer is recorded when you go onto a site. Your IP basically represents, or is as equivalent as your home address. People can automatically trace where you are located, with your specific IP.

Web based proxies eliminate this problem by using an anonymous IP, there fore you can surf on the internet as much as you like, without getting it tracked back to your home. There is nothing to install on your system, all you basically have to do is enter your URL into the address bar of the proxy.

The second use of proxies are used for accessing blocked sites at your work or education place. As the web 2.0 bubble grows a lot of people try to access sites such as Facebook or Myspace, this causes them to do less work and spend more time socialising. Although employees and schools can block out these sites, they can not stop all of the existing proxies. Therefore, a major source of traffic for these proxy sites are coming from these specific locations.

If you own a proxy yourself, you will notice that there is a drop in traffic over the weekends. This proves the theory, that most of the traffic is coming from work places or schools. While using a proxy you should always use the fastest possible connection, there are two types of scripts that are commonly used, one is PHP based and probably the fastest on the market, as it does not store cookies. The second is CGI based and runs a bit on the slow side.

Private Proxies

As a result of IP, online scammers and hackers can trace your pc and remotely access it without your permission and without you realizing it. Chances are the financial information for example your bank details (card number, pin, social security number, etc) could be hacked by these folks. Sure you don’t want this to happen.

This is how proxies seem sensible. A web proxy is sort of a middleman that hides your IP in the remaining portion of the internet players. So when you go to a website, before your pc sends out request for access, you initially send your IP address to a proxy understanding that proxy server sends your request to the website. Subsequently, the website provides information back to the proxy then for you. Through this, you are protecting your personal computer from any online threat made by hackers and scammers. There’s two types of proxy- the free as well as the private (which is usually paid) proxy. When you are looking at these proxies, you obtain everything you buy. Free proxies are extremely inconsistent and also since lots of people rely on them, they are slow and downtime is very common. Alternatively, private proxies are faster, has less if no system downtimes and they’re very accurate.

Besides protecting you from online hackers and scammers, a personal proxy allows you to access websites that are not accessible in your local area. Your network is basically restricted by your network source. There are sites in other geographical locations that you aren’t allowed to access. But when you have an exclusive proxy server, if you need to access a UK website limited to people based in London alone, you can do so even you’re in America.

Stealth Surf Proxy

Have you ever wondered why people give away free things on the internet ? Ever wondered why those kind people will cripple their servers by allowing ever anonymous hunting stealth surfer on the planet to surf using their proxy?  Well if you’re curious I’ll tell you.

That’s right most of the time, the owners of the servers are completely  unaware that  their server is being used as a free anonymous proxy.  A simple misconfiguration on their server and they’ve opened it up for everyone to use.   All those fine people worried about their anonymity are generally stealing someone else’s bandwidth as they surf.   Of course most aren’t aware of this and they’ll happily recommend to their friends and the server will get slower and slower.

Sure you’re leeching a service off some system for free, it may be extremely slow but at least you have some anonymity.  Much better off than the folks who stumble upon one of the other types of free anonymous proxies – the nasty little hackers honeypots.  That’s right the anonymous proxies deliberately set up (again usually on hacked servers) to get people firing all their html traffic across.   The reason – so that they can intercept and analyse every piece of data that you send across the internet.  Identity thieves love these, all that information and you send it direct to their servers to log, analyse and exploit.   It’s seriously time to check your credit card statements.

The ironic thing is even if you do use a legitimate anonymous proxy it affords you little anonymity as you proxy surf.   All it will do is prevent your IP address being logged on the target server. Your address is still logged at the ISP along with every web site you visit plus all your traffic which is logged and kept.   The majority of web traffic is in clear text which can also be picked up across the internet, each and every piece of data has the return path (your IP address) logged for everyone to see.

An anonymous proxy is a small part of security by proxy, surfing anonymously takes something a lot more sophisticated.  And no do not mean those so -called anonymous web surf proxies here you have to type in the URL you wish to reach into a web page.  These are usually are painful to use (as they rewrite the html code) and again all your data is logged before  you reach that point in any case !

Internet Censorship

A Proxy Server services requests from clients by forwarding requests to other servers.
If you are computer “C”, and you want to access server “S” but it is blocked, point your client’s web browser to Proxy Server “P”.

Thus C -> P -> S

An example of such a site is (ignore the pop-up windows) but if you search the web for proxy servers, you can have a list of thousands. Some are even more specific on what services you want enabled or disabled, such as removing JavaScript, enabling cookies, or displaying images.

As long as your network connection’s ISP isn’t blocking the Proxy Server, you can get access to those sites. And some get creative by using another standard HTTP port 80. Ports 8080 or 8081 are the most common, so you would enter for the URL.

A Circumventor is a Proxy servers used for defeating blocking policies implemented by an organization or country when “censorship” blocks access to certain sites. Of course, having a known list of proxy servers beforehand would be really helpful if you are planning a trip to such countries with censorship.

On the other hand, if I was an employee and wanted to check out my competition without them tracking my IP address, then this is an example of an Anonymizing proxy server.

An Anonymizing Proxy server is the correct term for the purpose of anonymity and is an alternate way using your AOL dialup account from your office. Besides, you want to take advantage of your high speed Internet connection, don’t you?

The reverse holds true with a reverse proxy server. Your corporate firewall may have a proxy server where everyone’s internal computer points to a central proxy server, and that server goes out and services requests.

Pros: it does speed up surfing for users, as it caches web site information and images from previously searched sites. It would also reduce the traffic, as the information is already stored and no need to go the destination site again. As well, the proxy server adds an additional level of security next to your corporate firewall.

Cons: your company can track every site you surf, and how long you stay on that particular site. Not good if you spend all day checking your hockey pool stats, or surfing questionable sites.