Basically, a proxy is a collection of servers which allow you to access a website, while maintaining your anonymity by hiding your IP address. All information you wish to send to the website you are browsing passes through the proxy you use. Usually this information reaches the proxy in an unencrypted form, which means they can be easily read by the webmaster or the owner of the proxy. Such information transmitted may include your usernames and passwords and even banking information!
So, the first rule to follow when using a proxy is to never type in any information you wish to keep to yourself, such as your password, or credit card number. When checking your mail, or logging into your bank’s online banking system, never use a proxy. This helps in keeping all private information confidential.
When using a proxy, you may also find that certain websites cannot be accessed, since the proxy has been banned by the site. In such cases, try a different proxy or try direct access.
Most anonymous proxies offer excellent service without the need for registration. If you find a proxy which requires registration, avoid using it. Any proxy which asks for personal information such as your zip code, or your social security or credit card numbers should also be avoided.
A few proxies are used as fronts for marketing sites. Such proxies observe your surfing pattern and send you spam or junk mail, based on your internet habits. Some proxies may also attempt to download software onto your computer. Such software may include viruses, spyware, adware and other malware. Never download any software from your proxy.
Not all proxies offer the same levels of anonymity. Some proxies even transmit your original IP address to the websites your surf. Others completely hide all information pertaining to you. Hence always ensure that the proxy you are using will serve your purposes.
Never use a proxy which does not support encryption when transmitting confidential information over the internet, such as your credit card numbers. This also means that you should never make any purchases while using an unencrypted proxy server. This is because since the information reaching the proxy is in an unencrypted form, it can easily fall into the hands of hackers.