Using Proxies Online

Many people seem to equate the use of proxy servers with security and safety when used online.  There are literally thousands of free web proxies available with just a cursory look with any search engine.  However the problem is that many of these online proxies are far from safe to use.

The reason people use proxies is generally to hide their IP address, either for anonymity reasons or they wish to bypass some geographical restriction on a site.  For example this webpage shows you How to Watch the US Netflix  from Outside the US, it’s quite simple just using a VPN based in America to make it look like it’s your location – http://dnsproxy.co.uk/.  Although the majority of subscription based proxies and VPNs are well run and secure, the same cannot be said for all the free ones.

Remember when you use a proxy server you are routing all your web traffic through that server.  You are trusting the administrator of that server not too log, tamper or interfere with your data in any way.  Given that HTTP is an insecure protocol and transmits in plain text this is quite a risk to take.  Usernames, accounts and passwords will all be transported through this middle man and any logging would be pretty much invisible to the user.

Proxy servers do have a role to play in the security of the internet, but only trusted and well run servers.  Frequently cyber criminals and hackers are  exploiting this need for proxies by putting their own up.  They do work but at the same time your details are being slowly siphoned off to be used in various identity theft scenarios.  Be careful what you do with your information when online, be particularly vigilant when signing into secure sites like Paypal and online banking.

 

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