Anonymous proxies or proxy anonymizers are one way of achieving anonymity on the Web. Computers connect with ISP's in the normal way, but they are then routed through a special type of proxy server. These servers conceal or disguise a computer's IP address by channeling connections to the web through alternative IP addresses.
As a result, internet tracks are not easily traced. Proxies are cut off points that prevent ISP's and other interested parties from monitoring URL's visited, files downloaded, items purchased etc. It appears to the ISP that the computer user surfed as far as a proxy server and then stopped.
Anonymous proxies also make life a lot more difficult for users of password hacking programs as they cannot identify the IP address of the computers they are attempting to hack. On the other hand, proxies don't shield computers from malware, cookies or applets. They must be countered by other defenses that may include a selection from the top 10 antivirus software products.
While computer users connected to the web via anonymous proxies are seemingly invisible, their activities under the clothing of a proxy's IP address are still visible to third parties. It's the disconnection between these activities and the computer's real IP address that makes the computer user anonymous, but passwords and other sensitive data can still be visible.
For a connection to be both anonymous and secure it must be encrypted all the way through from a computer to its destination using either SSL or SSH encryption. Proxies that employ SSL or SSH encryption are known as https proxy anonymizers or encrypted tunnel proxies. They enable all stages of the connection from a computer through a wireless network to a destination to be concealed from ISP's and any other servers in between. In so doing they also address the next challenge, malicious proxy sites.
Anonymous proxies standing between a computer and the internet act as middlemen or brokers and just like any broker, they maybe honest or dishonest. They can conceal or reveal the identity of their clients. The basic challenge is that anonymity on the internet depends on a chain of trust. They can be set up by anyone, no qualifications or licenses required. The owner or administrator of such a site has access to undisguised IP addresses and the data going between PC's and the internet.
Malicious proxy sites, as they are known, are set up by people who recognize that significant numbers of internet users will not question their integrity or even consider the possibility that their anonymity may be breached. The owners of these sites are then ideally placed to harvest sensitive financial and confidential information.
These considerations need to be weighed before selecting a service, irrespective of whether it's a free anonymous web surfing site or commercial. Not only do sites disappear over night, but they are also set up with the deliberate intention of gathering information. For these reasons it's essential to do a thorough due diligence before putting any trust in an anonymous proxy service.
Why are anonymous proxies a good idea?
Contrary to popular belief, anonymity is NOT a default condition on the internet. Identity theft is a booming business thanks to the internet. It's no exaggeration to say that we live in an era where personal privacy is rapidly disappearing. For further information Click Here!
The basic challenge is that anonymity on the Internet depends on a chain of trust that starts with the ISP. ISP's, search engines and corporations can and do maintain logs of every click, URL, files and movies downloaded, emails sent - received and keywords searched. At their discretion they may keep logs for days or even years. Click stream data is highly marketable. Analysis of this data can be used to profile potential customers and guide targeted sales campaigns. It's also irresistibly attractive to government agencies. No one can be confident that their internet tracks will not be subpoenaed; that they will not be the subject of investigation or prosecution based on their internet usage.
The internet is the perfect mechanism for monitoring ideas, individuals and groups. Our interactions over the net are funneled through ISP's. They are our gateways to and from the net, but how many people do a due diligence on their ISP beyond checking rates, speed and reliability of the service. Few of us would have the vaguest idea about the ownership of our respective ISP's and who is running them.
Legislation addressing the privacy of telephone conversations and postal deliveries has been in place for decades. By comparison the internet is the equivalent of the Wild West. Anything and everything goes. Governments agencies can be expected to exploit the lack of public awareness.
Anonymous proxies can provide greatly increased laptop security, but it's essential to use a service with an established reputation.
Surf The Internet At Work?
Windows and other software programs store history about the different activities that you have performed on your computer and on the Internet. This information is stored in the system areas of your hard disk and the built-in Windows functions like 'Clear History' offer little protection as they can only partially delete this data. Anyone can take a look at your history and find out what you have been doing on your computer, and this raises serious privacy concerns.
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