If you want to work anonymously or hide your computer data or personal location, you can use a Virtual Private Network through which you can perform any of the tasks online on behalf of a middleware available in-between two internet nodes. That middleware is sometimes referred to as a Proxy. It may be a computer code or a physical machine which redirects your request and successfully delivers it to your desired destination.
A proxy is nothing but a filter between you and the internet. For example, you want to access some data which is only permitted to be accessed by users in the United States, you can still access the data from anywhere around the world through proxy servers. Surfing anonymously isn’t as hard as it used to be in the earlier days of the web world.
How proxies work
Basically,a proxy enables an endpoint between you and the internet, or the server you are trying to access. If you’re on holidays in Dubai and you work for a company in New York, then establishing a proxy connection to your corporate office means your computer will create a temporary link between your system and a dedicated device at the corporate office called the VPN server.
This connection provides you with a pathway, usually called by a “tunnel”, through which all the data packets or communication documents are passed through. This is the one of the functionalities of a private network or a proxy server. All of your data packets will be encrypted inside that tunnel, going from your current location to the proxy server, and then it is transmitted to the open internet.
Anyone trying to sniff that packet or monitoring the internet flow won’t see your exact computer identity, rather they will be receiving the identity of the proxy server. In short, they won’t be able to figure out which websites you are accessing, because everything is encrypted or wrapped under another identity information. This is an even stronger security mechanism than SSL, since with SSL, people can still see the headers and know which sites you surf.
Proxies can be useful if you take some necessary precautions as follows
– Choose a proxy server which is trustworthy and does not sniff your transactions or log your data. Fineproxy (buy.fineproxy.org/eng/) is one of the vendorsthat completely takes care of this.
– Proxy IP address is also essentially important to choose. Make sure whatever server you are choosing, its IP is not blacklisted in any of the DNS records.
– Make sure that whatever transactions you are making through proxy server, or whatever data you are accessing, must be transmitted through a 256 bit encoded secured tunnel.
– A proxy server should allow you to encrypt your own data or the incoming packets.
– Proxies are handled by a random unknown person. Whether it may be an organization or an individual or a hacker,keep in mind that they can log or keep a track of what you are doing over the internet. They can even sniff your data packets or hijack your website transactions.
– There are two types of proxies, open and secured. Open proxies are prone to a higher risk of data hijacking and are usually handled by random unknown people.
– “it as a crime to use an open proxy” – Defined by The US Computer Fraud & Abuse Act and the EU Cybercrime convention (2001).