It’s not easy to keep secure on the internet these days, our electronic lives means that personal information is more valuable than ever. Learn a little bit about someone, some information and a password or two and you have a lot of power over them. That information is becoming easier to find the more we lead our lives on the internet. To highlight a point using a free anonymous web proxy is never going to keep you secure.
Some Hotel Snooping
Last week I stayed in a very nice hotel when I was working away from home. As I get rather bored some evenings being stuck on my own I often have a snoop around the hotel network to see what I can find. This was a large chain and the wireless connection to the internet was available at a large cost but as I was on expenses I happily paid rather than look for an alternative method! The login was simple and the surfing reasonably fast but very insecure.
After connecting I started up a copy of the free program wireshark which is an excellent network sniffer. Do you know what I saw – well everything really. The majority of web traffic is in clear text – so I can see every web page being requested and information being sent and received by every client in range – approximately about 35 with my Orinoco Gold card but I could easily get more with an external antenna.
I saw some strange web sites and some passwords, personal information, dates of birth, mothers maiden names that sort of stuff. All in clear text plainly visible to me – the only difficulty was the amount of information that was there but there are plenty of scripts available to filter this. Some stuff was encrypted from SSL sites but very little – how many people use the same passwords to access insecure sites as they use on their banking sites I wonder!
But to illustrate the point of this article I wanted to explain how much of this information would have been visible to me in that hotel from a surfer using an anonymous proxy?
That’s simple – all of it !
Yep that’s right all of it – every detail, an anonymous proxy shields your identity from the web server you are visiting, nothing else. It’s all visible to your ISP, the proxy owner and even bored computer geeks in the hotel room next door to you. So it’s a little bit anonymous but it won’t keep you secure. With a little effort I could have trapped lots of data in that one evening and tied it up to real people, via the hotel web system, room numbers and the emails and addresses whizzing across the ether.
It’s really not surprising that criminals prefer this method of stealing, it’s way safer and I guess much more profitable than mugging people in the street. It’s even easier when people are feeling secure by using a free anonymous proxy to keep secure.
The only person ironically whose data was safe in that hotel was mine because I take steps to protect mine.
If you want to read about some of my thoughts on using anonymous proxies and how you can surf without being spied on, try the link below, from there you can also try out a demo of the most secure, sophisticated secure web browsing product available anywhere.