Well don’t. Seriously think about it, do you honestly expect to find a nice up to date list complete with loads of totally free secure and high anonymity proxy servers? Is this the way the world works? Thousands of benefactors paying huge bandwidth charges for these proxies, whilst teams of highly skilled IT administrators work for free making sure they’re safe to use and all the data and logs are secure.
Of course you won’t, you will find lists with new proxies of course – some nicely formatted classifying open proxies as secure, highly anonymous and rubbish like that. These lists are all over the place, all they do is list open proxies – none of them are secure, not even close and I’ll tell you why.
So What Are all These Proxies – Do They Exist?
They do exist, but the vast majority are not left open intentionally. Many free proxies are badly configured servers which have accidentally been left open and accessible from the internet. They might be webs servers in colleges or Universities, PCs in companies or businesses that simply have been set up badly.
Many applications install web components like proxies automatically, administrators often have no idea that they are running proxies on their servers until they start to notice the bandwidth costs or see their application server running like a three legged dog.
Of course you might have no problem using a proxy server that some dozy administrator has left open accidentally (although I can assure you it is illegal in the UK at least – Computer Misuse Act 1990). But if it’s not been configured properly all your data and web traffic will be at risk.
Risk from anyone using the server and setting up a simple packet sniffer like the one below.
This could be run by anyone who gains or possesses access to the server. Remember in many cases the proxy has been left open accidentally – so it’s highly unlikely to be configured in a secure manner. One of the most insecure configurations you can run a proxy server in is by allowing the service itself to run in the context of the ”root” account. One little bug, vulnerability or configuration error then effectively puts the whole server and all data stored on it at risk.
Before you think there might not be much to see in your data logged on a proxy, think again – account names, passwords, email addresses and messages could all be visible. Even those encrypted with SSL can be intercepted if you have admin access to the server.
It’s quite simple if you need a safe, secure, highly anonymous proxy server then you have a few choices. Pay someone you trust to run it properly or set one up yourself and ensure it’s configured properly. There are some highly secure proxy and VPN services available for minimal cost, just search online. Whatever you do thought don’t risk the free proxies they’re just not worth it.