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Anonymous Proxies - What Is An Anonymous Proxy

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					Anonymous Proxies - What Is An Anonymous Proxy?
Being a computer nerd and active in the IT field for 20 plus years I am
constantly asked about anonymous proxies, what they are and why they are
needed.
An anonymous proxy is another computer located somewhere else (usually in
a foreign country) acting as a server to pass your http requests. In easy
to understand terms this means you type in google into your web browser,
and your browser has been configured to use a proxy. Instead of fetching
the page directly from Google, your web browser will go to the anonymous
proxy and then the proxy will fetch the Google page and send it back to
you. OK so now you ask "Why would I want to do that?". When you visit the
Google (or any other site for that matter) directly, your web browser
passes on information to the website you are visiting. Such information
may include your IP address. This is a numerical value assigned to your
computer by your ISP and is quite literally the "doorway" to your
computer. Armed with your IP address, a hacker could start port scanning
your PC looking for weaknesses to take advantage of without you knowing
it.
If you visit websites under a proxy, the sites you visit will not see
your real IP address but instead the IP address of the proxy. It is very
easy to configure your browser to use a proxy by simply changing your
settings. Now you ask, "Where can I find a proxy at?". I see lists all
the time that show free "open" proxies. This may not be a good idea as
you never know exactly who is behind the proxy. It may well be a honey
pot set up by some three letter agency therefore, staying away from the
free lists is probably a good idea.
There are commercial services available and one I personally use is
Ultimate Anonymity which has been around for over ten years now. They
provide proxies as well as a nifty tool to switch proxies on the fly
without having to ever touch your web browsers settings to make it really
simple.
They also provide an Online Privacy Test to show you exactly what your
web browser reveals about you. Note that once you have configured your
browser for a proxy you can go back to this page to see that a totally
different IP address is showing meaning you have setup properly. this
means the first time you visit the page, it will show your real IP
address. Once your browser is configured for a proxy and you revisit the
page, it should show a different IP address.
In this day and age, privacy is crucial. Its good to remember that if a
hacker or phishing website can't see you, they can't bother you. Identity
theft protection starts with simple things like anonymous proxies and
should not be overlooked.
It is always a good idea to have a good anti virus program as well as a
properly configured firewall on your computer or network. Privacy
services are a good addition, not substitution for these items.
Josh Saunders MCSE

				
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