We all know it really, when we see web sites constantly updating with free anonymous proxy lists. New ones seem to be added every day, isn’t it nice of people to pay huge bandwidth charges to let complete strangers surf anonymously on the internet?
Well the simple fact is that they generally don’t, the majority of owners of these proxies have no intention of using them as free proxies. It’s simple they didn’t patch their server, they’d didn’t quite set up Squid properly, they made a mistake somewhere down the line and suddenly their server has been opened up to the not unsubstantial crowd of surfers who want to use their proxy to surf the internet with.
Why do people use these proxies?
Well several reasons really, some think it gives them complete anonymity on the internet (which it really doesn’t) and some people want to use them to bypass some local firewall which stops them accessing Facebook. Then there are those stuck in countries who censor and filter the entire internet for their citizens, saving their people from the evils of You tube and the like. Proxies help you do all these things to an extent.
There are a few problems with this even if you get over the obviously moral one of taking advantage of someone and using their server without permission. The main practical one is that unless you catch a very new free proxy – your surfing will be extremely slow as you share it with thousands of others. All the free anonymous proxies end up either falling over, overrun their bandwidth limit or the poor unfortunate systems administrator realising what’s going on!
The other really good reason to stay well clear of these anonymous proxies is that a lot of them are simply traps to utilise the fact that you browse in clear text with HTTP and a proxy is a great place to gather lots of personal identity information. Saves the hackers going to look for victims when they send their data through a single point in clear text. It’s just not safe to use them unless you are certain who owns the server, so do you yourself a favour and stay away from the anonymous proxy lists, you’ll be much safer.