There are many benefits to buying proxy servers for anonymous browsing and location masking, but there are also proxy server risks that you need to be aware of. These risks can significantly affect your usage of proxies if you don’t choose a good provider. This article will guide you to understanding the various risks, and how to look for good proxy providers.
One thing about using proxy servers that you should know is that they don’t completely hide your Internet activities. While a proxy masks your computer’s IP address, it doesn’t encrypt the data that goes through it. That data can be intercepted and stolen by hackers, especially for the few websites left that do not use HTTPS (the default encryption for the web) encryption.
Another major security threat arising from that lack of data encryption is that of external attacks like viruses and malware. Hackers can launch these threats through the unprotected connection. They can also hide them in the ads that untrustworthy proxy providers display.
The risk becomes more significant with shared proxies. Since many people are using the same server at the same time, malicious software can spread a lot faster. This makes such proxies the least ideal option, with private proxies being the ideal choice.
To lessen the risk of data interception, opt to use paid proxy services rather than free proxies. Paid proxies have the benefit of:
Some providers, like PoxyHub, offer fully private proxy servers. This significantly lessens the risk for virus and spyware infections since only you will be using the proxy. It also guarantees that the IP addresses provided are clean, which lessens the likelihood that it will be discovered and targeted by hackers.
Be sure to review the provider’s security guarantees to better understand the level of security that it offers. In the case of Proxy Hub, it assures users that it does not share any of the private information that it gets from its users. This demonstration guides you on how to use certain tools for testing the security level of your proxy.
You also need to avoid sending sensitive information through shared proxies or connecting to sites requiring data entry, like banks. It would be wise to limit the use of proxies to applications that have fewer risks, such as browsing websites, using social media, and replying to email.
Another important risk to watch out for when purchasing proxies is for the general quality of the service being delivered. This can vary greatly from one provider to the next, and will impact the user experience a lot.
The effectiveness of the proxy in hiding your original IP address is a common quality issue. This depends largely on the level of anonymity that it can provide. Low-quality proxies might not be able to fully erase your IP on the requests they send to the sites you wish to connect to. This can make it easier for other parties to trace the requests back to your original IP address. Use a tool such as WhatismyIPAddress.com to verify that the proxy is changing your address.
Transparent proxies are also something to watch out for. These are proxies that are are not intended for masking your IP. They are used for tasks such as caching and authenticating requests.
While transparent proxies are not bad, they have their use, some unscrupulous providers might use them as a replacement for anonymous proxies to cut costs. This practice defeats the purpose of purchasing proxies for anonymous surfing.
Proxies are also susceptible to being banned by websites and search engines. This is a bigger issue with shared proxies, where a large amount of traffic coming from a single IP can raise the suspicion of search engines and sites. Since the proxy is shared, one user getting banned will result in you also not being able to use the banned IP address, or get flagged as suspicious traffic.
To avoid bans, choose providers that offer fresh IP addresses that have not yet been issued to any user. You should also consider how frequently the provider refreshes the proxies it provides with new IP addresses. Lime Proxies is a provider that refreshes its proxies on a monthly basis. It even lets you request an IP refresh when you need it.
A particularly common issue with free proxies is a slow internet connection. Since the servers typically handle hundreds or thousands of users at any time, this causes individual connections to slow down. Depending on the size of the traffic, this might even lead to your connection getting cut off.
The problem can be worsened by the advertisements that some providers show to you before being allowed to connect to a proxy. These ads serve as an additional means of income for the providers. These ads are delivered through the same proxy connection and can slow the connection further.
The best way to get around the various quality risks mentioned is by purchasing a dedicated private proxy:
If you don’t want to purchase a private proxy, be sure to closely examine the quality of the shared proxies you use. Paid options are always going to be a better option than free ones since they offer better quality. Choose providers that offer speeds of at least 1 Gbps, such as ProxyKey, to ensure a stable connection.
The various proxy server risks that we have discussed above stem from low quality providers. Those are bad, but there are also malicious proxy servers. These proxies are operated by hackers and other unscrupulous groups to take advantage of unsuspecting users. They can also be set up by government agencies as a honeypot:
was hacking my parents emai,l server to see what they got me for xmas, realized it was a honey pot server set up by the feds. going to jail
— handsome in his thirties guy (mobile web) (@foucault_45) December 12, 2016
These servers are often presented as easily accessible free proxies listed in popular databases. Alternately, they can be hidden behind sites that mimic popular providers, which fool unsuspecting users.
Data theft is one of the biggest concerns here. The masterminds behind these proxies intentionally leave them open to easily capture the information sent through them. They also record all the information that passes through, including unencrypted logins. This could lead to identity theft if you use the proxy to access your personal email or pages.
Phishing is another tactic used by people running malicious proxy servers. They run hidden scripts within the servers that direct users to sites that skim their information. These sites are designed to look legitimate, catching you off guard. This video shows how such an attack can occur.
The simplest way to avoid being a victim of malicious proxy servers is to get your proxies from trusted providers. As an example, SSL Private Proxy is a well-regarded provider amongst users in the industry. It provides you with a multitude of features that ensure your data is protected from theft.
In case you encounter a seemingly good new proxy service, carefully inspect it before using. Checking to see if it is in our reviews is also a wise move. Look for as much information as you can, including on the provider behind it.
You should also consider the claims being made by the proxy provider. Any claim that is not readily backed up by third-party reviews should be considered as a red flag to avoid. We look for these red flags.
The various risks that surround proxy servers might deter some from using them. These risks can be lessened by knowing how to identify and work around them. Some of the risks you should be aware of and how you should deal with them are:
Follow these simple steps and you will find a proxy server provider that is protected from the various risks.