An anonymity service is a special type of service that requires the usage of certain software to make Internet surfing anonymous. The anonymity software utilises the public proxy servers or their own personal private proxy servers to conceal their actual IP addresses. An anonymous proxy server is a server that serves the purpose of a relay, linking the client and the viewed Web site. The use of anonymous proxy servers helps in hiding the IP address of the user’s computer from the Web sites that they are surfing and helps in providing encryption. Anonymous proxy servers are very helpful to users who want to make sure that their online activities cannot be kept an eye on. Privacy and anonymity is of great importance to users who use wireless networks since they are a lot more susceptible to be spied around than they would have been if they were using a wired network.
Proxy servers are widely used by numerous organisations that include schools and corporations. They use proxy servers to consolidate their security and get anti-malware and caching services. Proxies are widely used in businesses to stop avoiding the acceptable use policy since it does not require any browser configuration for the user. It also helps in the prevention of exposing their data to the other third party websites. Proxy servers also help in the prevention of web bugs also known as ‘web beacons”, “pixel tag” or “invisible GIF”. The function of these malicious entities is to pass information from the client’s computer to other third party Web sites. These bugs work together with the cookies. The web bugs make information available to be collected and tracked in the Internet’s inexistent environment. It is usually a single-pixel see-through GIF image. The web bug can transfer the data when its HTML code is pointed to a website to repossess the image.
The purpose of the proxy is to supply a network address translation, which functions to veil the particulars of the inner network. Provided that the user’s configuration is cautious enough and the user has not unveiled too much of unencrypted personal information, the proxy alone can provide anonymity to casual Internet users. One of the things that make proxies so efficient in providing anonymity is that they deal with the data at the protocol level instead of dealing with data packets. As a result they can scrutinize all the protocol transfers, providing a more detailed filtering, security and reviewing abilities. This gives the proxies the ability to filter out unwanted data types such as Flash contents, ActiveX controls or executable files.
Internet Service Providers (ISP)s provide internet access to the users. All the information to and from the users is conveyed through the user’s ISP. As a result, all the ISPs are capable of tracking all the things about the consumer’s unencrypted Internet actions. The ISPs sometimes collect information about the users under their service. They are not supposed to do so due to certain issues like legal, business and ethical factors. From a privacy point of view, the ISPs should gather information required to supply the Internet connectivity only, but it is believed that ISPs gather furthermore information such as the users’ cumulative browsing behaviour as well as personally-identifiable histories. The possibilities of this gathered information can be numerous and whether or not the ISPs notify its users about this, it is a considerably important privacy concern.
Although the ISPs claim that they make the information available to the government if requested, it is thought that the ISPs use these collected information and they sometimes sell these information to other third parties. If the data is well encrypted reaching the Internet from the users, an ISP will not be able to tract the data contents. HTTPs are the most accepted standards for web-traffic encryption but still the ISP is capable of tracking the IP addresses of the user and the recipient. A lot of commercial services and programmers have stepped forward to work on anonymous proxy services to help organisations and businesses to mask and protect their data. These services usually do not share or sell any personal information belonging to the user and do not use any cookies or anything equivalent. The data created by their users are not viewed under any circumstances nor are they stored, they contain the rights to disapprove anyone of their services for any reasons under their judgement. These services are usually very helpful to their clients but are strictly against certain types of abuses like child-porn or spamming.
Open proxy servers allow client connections from all kinds of IP addresses and connect to any Internet resources. Therefore open proxies are misused in large portions to deliver spam in e-mails. While using proxy servers, all the data which is transferred between the client and a destination passes through the proxy servers with most of its data in unencrypted form. Therefore chances are there that malevolent proxy servers might record all the things sent through the proxy together with unencrypted passwords and login names. The activities can be concealed from the sight of the client’s destination by linking proxies that do not expose information about the actual requester. If the sources of these proxies are not known, the client can turn out to fall victim to fake security since those particular details are forgotten.
Keeping all these things in mind, while using proxy servers, it is vital to know whether you wish to use an unknown free proxy for your important communications or a commercial privacy service which is known, specialized in these matters and has something to lose.