Essential Software: Proxy Software

I feel the need to write something on this subject as a product of my investigations into Internet anonymity.  At the time, like a lot of other individuals rightly do, I felt the need to maintain or at least, provide myself a way to activate a state of Internet anonymity – in this case, by using a type of proxy service.

Before I go any further, I would like to point out that I have covered in a separate article a service that I think ranks in priority to that of a singular proxy server or other services (if you want security without paying for it) – both in the level of protection and convenience.  See here: JonDo.  Also I am aware of this great service: HTTP Tunnel Service, which also ranks highly as a great proxy service.  But please read on to learn a little more more about proxy services. 

Firstly: Proxy Servers

To use a proxy server as a means of Internet anonymity, one needs to find a proxy server address.  Now these lists can apparently be obtained from various forums and sites that charge a fee.  However, it is relatively easy to perform a Google Dork (a method of using the search engine to yield results you wouldn’t normally receive).  Here is sample search with modifiers:

“:8080” + “:1080” + “:80” filetype:txt

Explanation: The numbers represent the desired port numbers of the prospective proxy server types.  The “+” operator is for inclusion of each search term in the results and the “filetype:txt” syntax yields a simple text document.  I may, actually write a Google Dorking article in the near future..

You would then configure your browser to use the proxy server you have chosen.  There is a faster way.  You can go through the services offered by sites such as http://proxy.org  These types of services are known as web proxies and use CGI or PHP to handle requests from browsers.  All you do is enter the desired URL in the field of the provided page, click to select a proxy from the on-page list provided and go from there.  They are only good for browsing the web and some include SSL support.  Proxy.org have a frequently updated list of proxy servers on their homepage – they also have links to Proxifiy and Socksify (a Socks proxy list site – a paid service).  It is all well and good having one IP address for a proxy, but if you are paranoid about security (eg. people collecting your data), you may wish to switch between proxies at regular intervals.  Obviously, reconfiguring your browser every 5 minutes for new proxy addresses is tedious.  Rather than using a simple configuration through the browser, there are free switching programs available.  Of these, I found Elite Proxy Switcher a great program.  The freeware version offers switching (at configured intervals) and rating of the proxies (including ping), but no scanning.  You may want to try Charon though, because unlike the free version of Elite Proxy Switcher, this will leech proxy lists, too.  Here is information that is recommended for setting up this tool: Charon Settings.  Charon doesn’t do the automatic switching, so you’d have to export the proxy list from Charon into Elite Proxy Switcher. 

Note: With XP (SP2) and Vista, there’s a limit to how many simultaneous half-open connections you can have.  To fix this, read my article here: Simultaneous connection limit

 

How to reconciliate proxy addresses to their ratings (Levels)

Software such as Charon and Elite Proxy Switcher have a place to enter the address(es) for what is known as a proxy judge (they also have their own defaults).  This server will test the information it receives that has first been relayed through your proxy server to the judge from you.  It will examine IP and HTTP header information to determine whether what level of information has been divulged.  This information is relayed back to the proxy testing software and you are presented with level of anonymity per proxy on your list. 

We also need to be able to filter the domains involved.  Charon can do that for us.  Proxies that belong to domains used by government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, NSA and Military are considered ‘Dangerous Proxies’ and should be avoided, as these will undoubtedly be logged by the respective authorities.   So, while a proxy is anonymous, it could be dangerous if you haven’t taken the precaution of filtering.  Also, there are config files available for use with various software. 

Different Levels of Proxy Anonymity:

Level 1 – Anonymous:
This type of proxy offers complete masking of IP address, doesn’t tell the server that you are connecting to that you are connecting through a proxy server and doesn’t give away other info. 

Level 2 – Distorting:
HTTP header information will inform the destination server that you are connecting using a proxy server as an intermediary, but will not leak your IP address.  This type is used by lots of different web services. 

Level 3 – Transparent:
No good for security, this type of server is used by organisations to cache web pages to speed up Internet traffic, not to mask the clients’ IP address (and of course, the destination will also know that you are connecting through this proxy). 

These other types offer uses:

SSL Proxy great for secure connection to the destination for SSL (www.xroxy.com)

Sockv4 & 5:
These types of proxies are different than the others; they provide multi-application (ie multiple protocols) – as long as you have a client that will work with the Socks protocol.  This means IM, Games, P2P clients etc will work through the one port.  This works differently than the standard HTTP protocol and it is usually set to 1080 (although it is up to the implementation – it could be other ports like 80). 

This link will help you test your level of Internet anonymity for each new IP address you assume from within your browser:
http://www.jondos.de/en/anontest

 

Pros and Cons – You decide

Individual proxies
Great for those who wish to mask their IP from a site that may be banning them
Frequently manually switching them is inconvenient
You can’t necessarily trust the server – traffic monitoring and logging of traffic

  • Switching Proxies Regularly with software
    Handy for a site that may limit data requests by IP eg. Rapidshare
    Also good for those who are paranoid about someone sniffing their data. (that way they only get small portions).

Web proxies
Web proxies are convenient because they require no client software on the user’s end.
They aren’t likely to be filtered by the firewall (as port 80 is used by everyone) if you are behind one in your organisation.  Mind you, certain proxy sites may be filtered by the firewall.
They are only good for browsing the web (some include SSL support). 
You can’t necessarily trust the server – traffic monitoring and logging of traffic

HTTP Tunnel Service
Great for multiple types of applications (Socks support)
Offers a free version of the service – Speed for isn’t high (still, it’s good for IM and web browsing). 
The premium service is cheap for the convenience it provides – Speed is high (great for gaming and data-leechers).
Offers encryption to its’ network
Secure and virus-free servers
99% server uptime
Requires client software (download from site)

TOR – Proxy Network
Offers high level of anonymity
All manor of persons use this network – ranging from criminal to military
Communication to and inside its’ network is encrypted. 
Service provides multi-application support
Service is not high speed. 
Requires client software (download from site).  Also you must be sure to set up programs for use with service.
Servers aren’t necessarily trustworthy – there isn’t a system in place that gives information about the validity of the servers you are traversing

JonDo – Proxy Network
High level of anonymity
You can be pretty sure that the servers are who they say they are (it is highly unlikely that your privacy would be compromised)
Communication to and inside its’ network is encrypted.  
Paid service is relatively fast (up to 100Kb/s) and more secure with larger combinations of trusted servers
Paid service offers multi-application support
If one wanted to commit certain illegal activities online, there would be far less likelihood of authorities being able to obtain data concerning the activity. 

The network (as long as there is still one mix server that isn’t compromised) is secure: no one can read the data or the source; not the network operators or the other users. 
Requires client software (download from site).  Also you must be sure to set up programs for use with service.

 

The bottom line

I don’t care what anybody says; short of using SSL over proxies or going through servers you have actually personally checked out, If you have an element of doubt, DONT trust individual proxy servers.  If the web sites don’t provide enough good information about the servers they provide, they aren’t worth the service they are touting.  Having said that, if you have nothing to hide from the server.. it’s up to you.  Remember, there is no such thing as 100% anonymity! 

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3 Responses to “Essential Software: Proxy Software”

  1. hello i will like you to help me with a software for dating site okay thank you my email………sweetgirl556@yahoo.com bye for now hope to here from you soon

  2. You Can Unblobk Websites with a Proxy , here are a Few :

    http://www.247Web.co.cc

    http://www.hidden-surf.co.cc

    http://xunblocker.co.cc

    http://2surfall.co.cc

    Be Sure to tell your friends or post them to your myspace page or blog so others can enjoy.

    Happy Surfing!

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