Dangers of Using Proxy Servers

As an internet user any activity you perform on the internet can be traced back to you with the help of your IP address, which is a unique code assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider. An easy way of protecting yourself is by using anonymous proxies, which hide your IP address from websites. Though a majority of proxies are safe, there are still a few proxies run by webmasters with many a malicious intent. This article will help you to protect yourself better against such proxies.

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 you first try a proxy website, be sure to read through the terms of service of that particular proxy. Proxies usually also have a privacy policy, which is also to be carefully read. If you doubt the integrity of the proxy site, never use the site. Only use proxies which are trusted by a lot of people, and have a proper privacy policy.

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.

So, while using a web proxy, you will definitely be taking a few risks. However, if you follow the precautions mentioned and keep in mind the risks involved, you will definitely have an enjoyable proxy experience.

Unblock Websites at School Or Work With a Web Proxy

If you have tried to browse certain websites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo or YouTube at school or work, you may find that access to these social networking websites may be blocked. This is because your network administrator is blocking access to these sites using firewalls or web filtering software. Most social networking sites are considered to be a distraction and counter-productive, thus most organizations choose to block them.

How do you bypass these network restrictions and surf blocked websites at school or work? One easy solution is to use a web proxy. A web proxy is simply another website that acts as a gateway to connect you to the sites you want to visit. To the web filters or firewalls, it would appear as though you are visiting another website which has not been blocked.

To use a web proxy, simply visit a proxy site, enter the address of the site you want to visit into the url input form and hit return. The proxy server will fetch the page and display the proxified contents as though you are surfing the site directly.

Using a web proxy is a very simple solution as there is nothing to install. However, there are some limitations to what a proxy can do in terms of functionality on the proxified pages. Some websites like MySpace and Facebook require javacript to function properly. When surfing these sites through a web proxy, make sure to choose one that has good javascript support.

A good network admin may also be working hard to block your access to proxy websites. Thus it may be necessary to frequently seek out new proxies that have not been blocked. If you need to find new proxies regularly, you can save the trouble by subscribing to proxy mailing lists that will email new proxies to you on a daily or weekly basis. You can easily find web proxy listing sites by doing a search on Google.