Proxy

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See also: Proxies | Filtering Proxy | Distributed proxy | Anti-Proxy

From the latin word "proximus" which means "close".

A remote tool that provides anonymity and security. It is a type client-server relationship but with one server acting as an intermediary. On the Internet or a network, communications appear to come from one source, allowing a degree of anonymity. The proxy also safeguards its client from attacks, the server becoming the "fall guy" in case of a problem. Proxys are not perfect forms of security but only an extra step.

Other benefits

  • Internet Connection Sharing
Proxies can allow a single Internet connection to be routed to multiple computers on a local area network.
  • Odd Networks
Although rare, proxies can also be necessary on some networks that are not equipped to handle normal TCP/IP communications.
  • Traffic filtering
Can filter out banner ads, cookies, viruses, and more.
  • Freedom
Proxies can also circumvent censorship and Internet filters and may be used against governments which restrict freedom of speech. See distributed proxy.
  • Security
As the proxy itself is often targeted in the case of an Internet-borne attack, are traditionally more difficult to attack if the proxy itself is made to be secure. The can also employ tools such as a firewall and other countermeasures.
  • Speed
By removing excess elements such as cookies, banner ads, etc. and by sharing a cache of information, proxies can be much faster than an Internet connection alone.

Negative aspects

  • Incompatibilities
Some programs cannot connect to the Internet via a proxy. Still, most basic Internet tools such as Web browsers and chat clients are compatible.
  • Monitoring
Can also allow your connection and access to be monitored by the owner or administrator of the proxy as all connections go through one source. In the case of direct connections to the Internet or across switched networks, this may not always be easy or possible.

Encrypted Proxies

For increased privacy, encryption allow the use of distant proxies without the fear of eavesdropping between the proxy and its user.

<code> User ----> Proxy ----> Internet </code>

There are two vulnerabilities to an encrypted proxy:

  1. If the line between the User and Proxy are monitored, it could be vulnerable to traffic analysis.
  2. If the Proxy is known to have only one User, it's activity can safely be considered the User's activity.

If enough clients are connecting with a proxy at one time or random traffic information is used, traffic analysis can be lost in the crowd as the Proxy is continually requesting and receiving all different types of information.

Links

  • JAP - anonymous proxy
  • Allegro - a proxy that combines Internet speed enhancements and removes unwanted content
  • Yacy - a caching http proxy with content indexing/search and p2p-based index distribution