A proxy server grants you complete anonymity on the Internet.
I know a great many people who believe just that, thinking a proxy server affords some level of privacy.
There is, of course, some truth in that though it doesn’t describe the entire picture accurately.
To explain what I mean, we need to take a look at what a proxy server actually is.
A proxy server sits between your computer and the sites that you visit on the web.
It certainly prevents those sites from knowing who you are by masking your geographical location and IP address but that assumes that you have configured the proxy correctly in the first place.
The possible problem, though, is that you know absolutely nothing about the proxy itself –
Who owns it?
Are they collecting identifying data about you?
What are they doing with your data?
Is the person behind the proxy a hacker?
Or maybe an identity thief?
Chances are, you won’t know until its too late.
If you use a proxy then it can see everything you are doing, every request you make, unless it actively purges it’s logs on a regular basis.
Don’t forget that any user names or passwords you enter whilst using a proxy can also be captured and stored.
I guess the question you have to ask yourself is whether you trust the administrator of the proxy you are using?
Do you even know who they are?
Regardless of what they may or may not say about themselves on the site they could actually be anyone, from a teenage hacker to an identity thief or any other type of malcontent in-between.
Considering that the administrator of a proxy could be anyone, how secure do you feel now that you know that any browsing you do is in clear text?
Without any kind of encryption everything you do is available in clear text as the preferred protocol of the web – HTTP – was designed for speed and simplicity, not security.
The whole point of using a proxy is to make your surfing more private and more secure.
What you are really getting may be somewhat different though.