Anonymous browsing is simply browsing the World Wide Web with most of one’s identity hidden. This is primarily done through what is known as an anonymous browser based proxy. These websites hide information such as the computer’s location and IP address when users use them to browse the web. For example, when the user tries to access something on a certain part of the web, the proxy will talk to that file as the user’s ambassador, maintaining the user’s privacy. The practice of anonymous browsing can also maintain the user’s privacy from potential loggers spying on the user’s connection.
Effectiveness of Anonymous Browsing
As anonymous browsing also lets the user bypass restrictions placed in the Internet connection such as a simple firewall, it is a widely used technique. It is especially used in schools and offices where there are heavy restrictions on web pages that are and are not accessible. Students anonymously browse to gain access to social networking websites that the school’s tech office blocked, which deemed the sites as harmful to the students. Office workers also anonymously browse as this can help them bypass the restrictions their employers set or to erase any tracks in case the employers are monitoring their Internet usage.
Risks of Anonymous Browsing
Although anonymous browsing seems to be the solution for complete anonymity, it can potentially be harmful. This is because anonymous proxies do not encrypt data when it is sent to the proxy server. Thus, a proxy server administrator who has malicious plans can record and leak important information such as logins, passwords, and credit card numbers. Users that are constantly looking to anonymously browse could also fall into Internet traps where web pages display a wrong security measure, which the user might believe and give out too much information. This could lead to an even greater disaster than normal browsing, as the proxy server itself and any proxy chains attached to that proxy server can see all of that user’s information.
Features to Look for in a Web Proxy Service for Anonymous Surfing
A good web proxy service will setup a TLS or SSL tunnel with the anonymous surfer. This will prevent network sniffers from eavesdropping on the person who is anonymous surfing.
Some proxy servers support FTP, while others only support HTTP. Some, but not all, anonymous proxy servers support HTTPS. Make sure to select an anonymous proxy server that supports the protocols to be used.
In addition to hiding the user’s IP address, an anonymous proxy server typically removes traffic such as:
- Referrer information
The end user should be able to configure these options to enable the proxy server to work with web sites that require cookies or pop-ups.
Web Proxy Services for Anonymous Surfing
Anonymous web proxy services tend to be somewhat unstable. The list of current anonymous web proxy services changes constantly. In addition, some anonymous web proxy services are free services and others are not. Most of the current proxy services offer some version of limited free service, then try to sell the user a monthly subscription.
To find current web proxies for anonymous surfing, visit our proxy page.
Anonymous browsing is a very easy way to browse without needing to worry too much about information such as the IP address being released publicly. Nonetheless, it is critical to double check whether a certain anonymous browsing service is honorable or not to prevent any, potentially even worse, disasters from occurring.
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