With the growing concern about privacy and security breach, it is not surprising that internet users are flocking to proxy servers for help. According to the Cybersecurity Marketing Report, every business is at risk of being hacked. Online identity theft is on the rise and viral stories shared online add to the growing fear of being victimized even among ordinary citizens. Where do these people run to for protection? The answer is free proxy servers: no cost and available everywhere.
Free proxies are used across the globe to get past censorship filters, access websites with country- or region-specific restrictions, and for anonymous browsing. Obviously, the cost of cybersecurity has discouraged users to look for alternatives. The question is: does its free proxy serve it purpose? By purpose, we mean anonymity and security in particular.
Anonymity and Security Online
The need for anonymity has never been more urgent than today, when people’s privacy is on the line. The Internet has become a medium for virtually any digital exchange between people and organizations. The way this technology works, what people do online can be tracked and observed. How does the Internet work? Data is transferred across the Internet as packets travelling from one machine to another until they reach their destination and it goes on and on. Each packet contains a source and destination address, instructions telling the computer how to pass the data on and/or reassemble the information. All sorts of technologies have been developed to analyze these packets.
Hiding Your IP Address
The key to capturing information transferred between machines is your IP address. A proxy server replaces the IP address of the source of the request with its own. You, as the user, remain anonymous to websites that you access. Anonymity, in this case, refers to your computer not being identified from outside your network. Your IP address is not known. This is one layer of security which has the added benefit of giving you the ability to access or unblock websites that ban people from a specific region or country. A free proxy server provides this type of security.
Hiding Your Proxy Status
When you are using a proxy, your target website may not see your IP address but it will detect that you are using a proxy IP address. By default, a proxy will submit a header to the target website by adding X-Forwarded-For HTTP header to the original HTTP request. Some website servers have filters for proxies which defeats using the proxy to unblock websites. Additionally, some technologies may be able to do something with this information that will compromise your online security.
The Price of Using Free Proxy Servers
As you search for free proxies, you will find that they are mostly public proxies. Ironically, they can cost you in terms of wasted time, security and bandwidth issues. Some of them are advertiser-sponsored, while others are laden with unavoidable and annoying links to unnecessary websites. The good news is that affordable private proxies are available with an attractive package of benefits.