The Dangers of Anonymous Web Surfing

The Dangers of Anonymous Web SurfingAnonymous web surfing is simply using the Internet without revealing information about yourself – the browser you are using, your IP address, your computer system, your location, etc.

You may not be aware of it, but when you go to a website, the server at the other end gets the IP address of the computer you are using to be able to return information back to your browser. In fact, all internet servers and services have some form of logging, and it’s not just your IP address that is being retrieved from your Internet session. The exact time that you accessed a web site, as well as usage history (i.e. links on the website that you clicked, actions that you performed, data that you entered) are recorded.

Companies use these logs for statistical, marketing, technical or legal purposes. In the office, it is likely that your company’s servers and firewalls are configured to keep track of employees’ Internet usage.

Anonymous surfing is done through an anonymous browser based proxy (a.k.a anonymizing proxy). This kind of website allows you to enter the URL of the web page or website that you want to visit, and the service will direct you to it while hiding your information from the other server. The website you visited will have no way to determine your IP address or location, because it would seem that all requests for information came from the proxy.

In reality, however, things are not that simple. Although companies offering anonymizing proxy services promise not to divulge your information, law enforcement agencies do have access to these records, and it is not unlikely that these will be used for surveillance purposes.

Also, you might get away with anonymous web surfing for while in your office or school, but sooner or later, the system administrator will notice that you are using an anonymizing proxy and even see the websites you visited embedded in the URL sent to the proxy or from DNS queries. This will definitely put you on a watch list and may be grounds for disciplinary action.

More importantly, anonymous surfing is not the same as encrypting sensitive information such as login credentials (i.e. username, password) and credit card details when transmitted over the Internet. Some users may lulled into a false sense of security and will not know that the credit card information they typed in are unencrypted and easily retrieved by hackers or server administrators with malicious plans.

There is plenty of information on the Internet on what to look for in a web proxy service for anonymous surfing. Consider also that anonymous web proxy services tend to be unstable and the current list changes constantly. Some services are offered for free, while some are not. Others are available for free but with limited features. To get the full benefit, you must pay one or more fees.

In the end, while anonymous web surfing is an easy way to navigate the Internet without worrying about your information being made public, it pays to do your homework to determine which anonymizing service suits your needs.

How to Safely Surf the Web

The truth is that by connecting to the Internet, you share information about your computer, your geographical location and even about the Web sites you visit. Anonymous surfing is the ability to surf the Web without being tracked. The main idea of anonymous surfing is to hide your online activity that may potentially expose your personal information to others. By surfing anonymously, no one knows who you are, where you’re connecting from or what sites you are visiting.

By using “sniffers” somebody could discover your IP address, cookies, what kind of computer you’re using – they could even connect to your hard drive and access your private files, including pass visited sites, passwords and banking information.

Web sites and other hackers can dig out information about you including your IP address. You can be found and tracked using your IP address very easily. Your IP address gives hackers an entryway into your computer.

Is it possible to surf the web anonymously? Stopping these hackers in their tracks? Yes. However, nothing is fail-safe – but it makes it very difficult for anyone to know who you are. There are products called anonymous proxy servers that help protect you.

Proxy servers work by retrieving Web pages for you. They hide your IP address and other important browsing information, so the remote server does not see your information – but sees the proxy server’s information instead. It’s like having someone drop you off at a neighbour’s home – and after they drive off, you return to your real home. They will have no idea where you really reside.

Surfing with an anonymous proxy site/service is a very simple process: all you do is enter in the URL you’d like to visit anonymously into your proxy server, and you’ll be able to surf leaving virtually no trace that you were ever there.

When you surf the web – you leave traces of your Internet activity everywhere! And, this can eventually lead to your true identity. Any url you access can record information about you such as your IP address, location, browser type, web pages last visited and other vital information that you might want to keep private.

Hackers are very serious. They can get access to your private information – steal personal information and enter your computer via security holes to cause damage to your computer.

It is estimated that nearly 90% of all computers are infected with some sort of spyware/malware that may allow hackers to discover your passwords and bank account numbers – basically giving them access to anything and everything on your computer.

There are many software vendors who sell anonymous proxy servers. However, There are also free proxy servers available. One really cool starting point for proxy servers is proxy.org – they have lot’s of information on proxy software and free proxy servers. A must see site for anyone looking to surf the web anonymously.

The Roles They Play in Network Security

The Roles They Play in Network SecurityLike the name implies Firewalls are designed to permit, deny, encrypt, and decrypt any information that travels through (or domain to domain). The great thing about Firewalls is the creation of NAT (Network Address Translation). With NAT you can hide yourself behind private addresses and they can also be used by proxies to help contain corrupt information from spreading to fast as well as help regulate traffic, since it can filter out or contain information. Firewalls can be a great tool or a useless tool; it all depends on how you maintain them. Most people that just run default probably are not making the most use of their firewalls. If you modify them or use advanced tools firewalls can do quite a lot of things to help protect you from the common problems of the computer world.

Proxy Servers work by requesting information from other servers to be sent back to the requested client. They help speed of traffic and help contain harmful information by caching information thus making it more readily available rather than accessing the required server on the spot. It is a nice advantage, because without an active connection the odds of harmful information getting in are reduced quite a bit. Still when looking at proxy servers, there are different types with different abilities. There are caching proxies who do what I mentioned above, and there are web proxies that focus caching web information to improve load time rather caching common resources like cache proxies. There are content filtering proxies hostile proxies that can eavesdrop on flowing information, anonymous proxies. The list of proxy types go on and on, because all a proxy server really is are something that catches and find information, so if you have a goal you can create a proxy to run it.

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.

Advantages of Using a Proxy Browser

A Proxy Browser is a proxy server site that allows users to browse through different sites without being directly connected to them. It is a program used by most Internet entrepreneurs to market and expand their business. What’s good is that hundreds of these are available on the web.

It is a type of server that can act as an intermediate between clients and other servers. The client will first have to connect to this browser and request for what he needs. He can request for a certain service, a file, a connection, a web page or a resource that is not available on his server.

The next thing a proxy browser does is to evaluate the client’s request according to their standard filtering rules. It can for instance, filter traffic by IP protocols or addresses. Once the client’s request is found valid, the proxy will now readily provide him with the resources.

There are many kinds of proxy servers found online. You can use any of them depending on your preferences. This long list includes caching web proxies, Content-filtering web proxy, Anonymizing web proxies, Hostile web proxies, Intercepting web proxies among many others.

If you are having trouble looking for one, you can always join forums where you can seek opinions from other users. Here, you may ask them for an effective site you can use. If you are having doubts about the proxy browser you found, you can always read on reviews about that server.

Perhaps the best thing about these browsers is that they have no down times unlike other sites. This can allow you to access them anytime and anywhere. These tools have indeed been a big aid to many Internet users. From helping them in their online business to just simply going to sites that are blocked by their main server.

Here are some significant uses of a Proxy Browser:

  • Keep the users and the machines behind it anonymous. Did you know that with every site you enter, you basically give away all your personal information such as passwords and usernames? This tool will provide no way for the user after you can to trace your Internet history easily.
  • Speed up your access to online resources. Sometimes, the most annoying part of surfing the web is to wait for it to buffer. These kinds of browsers are commonly used to cache web pages. These servers do this by delivering the requests quickly.
  • Censorship and Filtering. In schools and public computers, these browsers are utilized to filter certain websites or its content. This allows them to prevent their users from entering inappropriate websites. If you own a company, you cans use these browsers to prevent your employees from accessing sites that will cause them to waste time compromising your company’s output.
  • Accessing blocked sites from your school or workplace. This is one of the superficial but fun uses of these browsers. This function is just the opposite of what was previously mentioned. Most social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked on universities and offices. With the help of these servers, you can easily enter these sites.
  • Proxy browsers can also be useful in preventing your account in any site from being hacked.
  • To audit usage. You can for example, use these browsers to provide your company with Internet employee usage reporting.
  • Safe way to surf the net. You can also use these sites to protect your computer from malicious software, viruses and even spyware.

How to Use Robots txt For Your Proxy Websites

If you are running a free web proxy and do not use a robots.txt, you may find trouble coming your way from other angry webmasters claiming that you have stolen their web content. If you do not understand this, then at least remember this term “proxy hijacking” well. You see, when a proxy user uses your free web proxy is used to retrieve another website’s contents, those content are being rewritten by the proxy script and appear to be hosted on your proxy website automatically. What used to be on other websites now becomes your content after some proxy users visited those third party websites.

Next, you have search engine bots from Google,Yahoo and MSN etc crawling through your proxy websites content and indexing those automatically created or so called stolen content and associating those content to your proxy website. When the real owners and authors of those content do a search on search engines and find those content being listed on your web proxy (and not on their own websites), they turn angry and start issuing abuse emails to your hosting provider and to the search engines. Your proxy website will end up being removed from the search engine results and that may mean a great loss of web traffic and profits for you.

Some hosting companies will also suspend your hosting accounts although this is not likely for specialized proxy hosting providers that are used to handling such complaints and know that the real cause of the proclaimed abuses. If you are using AdSense or any other advertising networks for monetizing your web proxy, these complainers may even go as far as to try and get your AdSense accounts banned by report that you are a spammer that is using duplicate content.

If you do not know what web proxy scripts you are using but you know you got them free, then most likely you are using either of the three big proxy scripts: CGI Proxy, Phproxy and Glype. For convenience, we provide a sample robots.txt that works with their default installations:

    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /browse.php

    Disallow: /nph-proxy.pl/

    Disallow: /nph-proxy.cgi/

    Disallow: /index.php?q*

Copy the above source code into a robots.txt and upload it to the root directory for each proxy website. Creating proper robots.txt files for your proxy websites is an often forgotten but essential step for many proxy owners, especially those that own large proxy networks consisting of hundreds of web proxies.

Set Up Your Own Proxy Website

Browsing anonymously is very simple. You go to one of the free proxy websites, enter target address and you get the desired page without exposing your data to that page. While this is free and you hide your IP address, you still present your data to one server or website. You never know what is this server doing with your data. The best solution would be to have your own proxy. This way you would have total control over what data is stored and how this data is used.

To set up a proxy website is pretty simple. There are many free scripts available on web. Simply search for “proxy script” and you will get a lot of choices. One popular script is Glype. This is a free web-based PHP script. This script downloads web pages and forwards them to your browser. The script is in fact a complete website with only one function: to act as a proxy between your computer and the destination web server where your wanted page is hosted. Most such scripts have plenty of parameters to configure, but default values work well in most situations.

To install a web proxy scrip you need hosting as for any other type of website. The installation is usually very simple. You downland the script, unpack it, configure some data like password for administration or cache time and your files are ready to be uploaded to the web server. Once the script is there it is already operational. Of course, this depends on each script, you should always follow the installation instructions. The Glype script needs no special installation–it is a plug and play application. Once you have a proxy page you can use it to browse anonymously without worrying who will examine your data. Such scripts need little maintenance. You only need to periodically check the log files for anything unusual.

To host a web proxy you don’t need a separate domain name. You can install it into a separate folder on your existing website. You can access it by simply entering you domain and the folder where your script is located. Proxy servers usually provide caching functions. This can significantly increase access speeds for frequently visited websites. You can also block certain IP addresses if you would like to prevent access for some users.

Having your own proxy website is a good idea. When you will need total anonymity you will know where to go. Nobody will check your log files and nobody will intercept the data that you will transfer while browsing.

Choosing Web Security Testing Tools

Not only does it help keep information confidential, web security testing is also useful in authentication and authorization issues. With advancements in web technology, better testing tools have been developed to expose a web application’s vulnerabilities. These tools enable you to determine the vulnerable areas on your websites and make the necessary changes to strengthen the application’s resistance to unlawful access.

Your choice of web security testing tools will depend on your system and the needs to be addressed. However, it is essential to choose a tool that is easy to install and with a user-friendly interface. A good testing tool is incomplete with a set of standalone add-ons such as web proxy, and HTTP editors. These add-ons identify live web servers within the network and help in conducting a thorough examination of the system. Primarily, almost half the security issues will be detected by these add-ons.

Web application security testing tools must allow the creation of logs to track the process right form URL submission to packet level details. Via the HTTP protocol it is easy to identify headers sent and received, and locate the error invoking code. Web security testing tools must allow users to manipulate the web application as an authenticated user in order to determine sensitive areas of the application that can be vulnerable. In addition, the user should be able to test the application and adopt different authorization roles.

The right web security testing tool will offer many ways to control what has been scanned, which allows for hassle free testing and saves time as well. A web security tool with password cracking capabilities can make the application secure and tests the strength of the login mechanism. It would be prudent to opt for an evaluation version before actually purchasing one.

All the areas need to be equally addressed in security testing since every client connected online can be a potential threat to the system. It is important to gather as much information as possible in web application security testing. It is necessary to determine how people access your web application and the type of information they have access to. These usually include comments & sensitive information embedded in the html source code, error messages generated at the server, and application error messages. These aspects need to be considered during web application development.

What is Anonymous Web Browsing

Anonymous web browsing is surfing the internet while hiding the user’s IP address and any other information from the websites the user is visiting; anonymity can be achieved by using a proxy server or a virtual private network or VPN server. If the proxy server is trusted proxy, anonymity will be retained. Anonymous web browsing is generally helpful to those internet users who want to ensure that their sessions should be hidden from the hackers or they could not be monitored. For example organizations may want to control access to the particular websites. However, Anonymous Web Servers act as placing a wall between the user and the website which he/she is visiting. These servers can be used to bypass restrictions and visit those sites that might be blocked in a specific country, office or school. Some people only use these servers to protect their on line identity.

There are different websites which claim to provide these anonymous web browsing services. Some of them are free services and some are paid, with more or fewer features. Among these systems simplest anonym zing system will be Proxy browsing since no additional software is needed to download and there are fewer configurations. In this approach an additional “trusted third party” who is a proxy is introduced between the sender and receiver in a way that, user’s all web requests are redirected to the proxy. So the proxy will made the request from the web server on behalf of the user. Hence the sender’s identity is hidden from the receiver.

The operation of achieving anonymity is as followed.

1. The web browser issues an http request for the URL from the proxy server.

2. The proxy server immediately issues an http request to the Web server for this URL. Now the http request appears to be originated at the proxy server and not at the user’s computer.

3. The web server replies with sending an HTML document to the Proxy.

4. The proxy will first rewrite all the links in that document so that they will point back to the proxy instead of the web server.

5. Finally it sends the document back to the user with all links rewritten.

Can I Keep Secure With a Free Anonymous Web Proxy

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.