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Proxies


pr0l3
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Was installing FoxyProxy on my wife's computer today (recently installed and tested, huge fan of this plugin...) when she had a very interesting set of questions for me.

She was saying that since I'm putting us behind these walls, and making it more difficult to be found, wouldn't that give me a higher priority as a potential target for snooping by anyone?

It's a good question - why am I using a proxy...

For me - it's to remain private, or as private as I can be. I don't want so much of my information to be public... does that make me 'interesting'?

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I wouldn't believe so, plenty of people use them. A lot of Eastern nations use it to bypass United States copyright blocks on videos and music. It only makes you interesting if you start doing something illegal, and most proxy hosts will willingly give up info on you if something illegal was detected on said IP at a certain time. Same policy applies to leased VPNs, such as Cyberghost VPN.

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Proxies are generally used for bypassing certain firewall restrictions, like schools or corporate blocking users from accessing certain websites. Proxies won't make your IP address be completely hidden, if you were to commit a cyber crime, they will still be able to trace back to your IP address.

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Proxy and Privacy are two different things and concepts to think about. If you use a proxy every day, but still post info about your true self on sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc, exchange emails with people, all you are truly doing, is masking your location, not your privacy. If anything, you are leaving a trail of yourself, on the proxies, for rouge proxy owners to easily identify you quicker, and potentially sniff your traffic. However, if you are not using your personal info on proxies, never log into a site via proxy that is tied to your personal info, then yes, they come in handy. Prime example would be to visit a site you suspect as being malicious but wanted to investigate, but want to mask where you are coming from so they don't target your home IP directly. Combine that with multiple proxies or TOR, spoof your MAC address and browsers user agent, you then start to become more anonymous, but ultimately, any proxy you use, knows who you area and you have to leave that trust in their hands.

You can use all the proxies you want, but if through the proxies you use sites like Google and Facebook, they will be able to tell who you are, based on cookies, flash cookies, browser, OS, screen resolution, and a whole host of other statistical data, much of which is shared between advertisers and their affiliates, and tracked across all major sites.

If you are on a hostile network (one I define as not being your own, such as cafe wifi, hotel ethernet, etc) then your best protection is a tunnel, or VPN service to a safe network to then go out to the internet from. Proxies are fine for the short round when needed, but as a daily thing, I would avoid at all costs and switch to your own secure tunnel setup, or a reputable VPN service.

At the end of the day, if someone wants to track you down, there will always be a trail. Networking 101. You want data retrieved from someone, it has to know your end point to send it back to you, even if behind a VPN or Tunnel, if they track it back to those, they could subpoena records to eventually pin point with relative accuracy who you are. Especially if they setup monitors specifically to track you down on the VPN's. Most VPN services don't keep logs, but they can be court ordered to do so, and also to allow investigators to tap the network. Hence, Anonymous members arrested who were using Hide My Ass VPN services. Multiple reverse tunnels like Darren has been covering, would also be really good to look into, but I think given enough resources and jurisdiction, the courts could order interception of potential targets if needed. I would think you would just have to do something to warrant their snooping.

Edited by digip
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