A German Proxy Server – How to Get One

So why would anyone want such a thing, why would anyone need a German proxy server?  The reason is that if you have access to such a server then you are able to change your computer to have a different IP address.   This basically ensures that any website you visit will consider your location to be in Germany, and for many sites this makes a huge difference in what you can see.

Here’s a simple demonstration of how your IP address will affect what you see online.  When I’m in the United Kingdom and using a British IP address, this is the version of Google that I see when I fire up a web browser.

UK IP

Now I am going to use a program called Overplay to change my IP address to a German one, like this – simply by selecting one of the German based proxies from their list.

german proxy

From this point I now appear to be somewhere in Germany, simply because of the IP address I have been assigned.  You can see now if I start up my browser and go to Google it will redirect me to the German version of the search engine.  This is because while I am connected to the German proxy server then all my traffic is routed through this server – Google doesn’t speak directly to my PC any more.  The relative speeds to different countries will vary greatly depending on your location – you should use the fastest proxy available in the country you require.

German Address

It’s really that straight forward and in my opinion, having the ability to switch and mask your IP address is becoming more and more important. We’ve mentioned Overplay here, but there’s another extremely sophisticated program called Identity Cloaker which has a vast array of features including the ability to encrypt individual applications and even specific browsers. Here is a video uploaded to Youtube demonstrating how to use German Proxy Server

So Why Would I Want a German Proxy Address?

Which is great, but why would I specifically want the ability to switch to an address in a different country like this?  Well the main reason is that many German based sites are only accessible to those people based in Germany itself.  Many  TV stations, big media channels like Zattoo, Das Erste, Arte or even  Sky TV can only be viewed by people with a German IP address.  It’s kind of like requiring you have a Berlin postal code, before allowing you access,  it would never bother someone actually living in Germany.

However imagine you are a businessman from Berlin travelling abroad or perhaps a student studying in a different country – all your familiar home channels would be blocked to you by default. Perhaps you are an Expat living away from Germany and wanted to access the German DSF channel.  There are loads of reasons and by using a  proxy server like this then you can gain access from anywhere.

If you do need to get yourself a German IP address, I can definitely recommend the company Overplay, they have a huge range of different servers across the world all included in the same subscription – useful for watching different sites in the USA and UK for example.  The software is very easy to use and the cost is much cheaper than most other  proxy/VPN servers.

Updated – 19/11/2017

Further Reading

BBC iPlayer Deutchland/Watch  the BBC in Germany – http://bbciplayerabroad.co.uk/how-to-watch-bbc-iplayer-in-germany/

Ukraine Proxy – Private VPNs

There is actually quite a demand for proxies and VPNs from the former Soviet Union countries and it can be quite a task to find one. Although some of the demand is probably from natives  who have left countries like Ukraine  and want to connect back using a IP address. The majority of demand is from people who value their privacy and would rather not have their personal data and web history logged at their local ISP.

The idea is that if you route your connection through a proxy, VPN or Smart DNS service, then you gain some level of anonymity.  This is true to some extent, for a start the web site you visit will have no record of your real address only that of the proxy server.  Also in your ISP logs your connection will only list the proxy server and not the actual web site you visit.  This of course all depends on the proxy server being correctly configured and the logs being deleted instantly otherwise it’s actually a pointless exercise.

So How Can I Find a Ukraine Proxy

With some countries, you can occasionally find a free VPN or proxy server for a few hours, it’s not that easy with Ukraine though.  If you do find a free one floating about on the internet I would strongly avoid it !! There are quite a few Carders, identity thieves and hackers operating out of Ukraine for obvious reasons – they set up servers to catch account names, passwords etc from the cheap, stupid or gullible!

There are of course lots of commercial VPN and proxy providers but not that many with Ukrainian servers. Of the popular, trusted providers I’ve used only one can supply a Ukrainian IP address and proxy and that’s Overplay.

There are servers in 48 different countries everywhere from the US, German proxies, a couple of Turkish proxies and one is based in Ukraine as you can see from the drop down list. Their subscription (starts from $4.95/£3.20/EUR3.80 a month) all include every one of the servers so you can switch from one to another whenever you like.
ukrainian server

Of course, many use the Ukranian based proxy/VPN servers for privacy – so it’s also important to know that Overplay don’t keep any logs at all of sites visited, transactions, downloads etc.

Here’s what happens when I connect to Google using their Ukranian proxy –

Google with Ukranian IP

I get the Ukranian version with all the search in Russian, if i look for a local plumber then I’ll find one in Ukraine not my real location 🙂 So obviously you have to remember this, that your surfing is often customized to your location i.e. in this case Ukraine. Of course there are benefits as well including being able to switch at will to watch the BBC with a British IP address or an American only site like Hulu using a US server.


The company is run by some networking professionals based in North West, England – they really know what they’re doing and have the largest network of secure proxies and VPNs anywhere on the net. Try them – Overplay, you won’t be disappointed.

Turkish Internet Censorship – The Future

Turkey has for many years shown a very strong desire to heavily censor the internet.  They have frequently blocked access to many of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.  Normally these blocks have been short lived due to public and international pressure.

The recent protests in Turkey though have perhaps given as an insight into the views of their government – with the Prime Minister, Recep Erodogan making this ridiculous quote –

“Social media is the worst menace to society”

Of course if you’re incredibly unpopular and are trying to forcefully implement a religious agenda into a secular country then social media is not likely to be your best friend. The reality is social media is merely a form of communication nothing more and nothing less.

I fear that if the Prime Minister in Turkey continues in power, his aggressive mobilisation of the police against peaceful protesters will be followed soon by some serious ramp up in internet censorship. Two years ago a plan was proposed to impose huge restrictions on Turkish internet users.

The idea was that all users would have to select one of four content filtering packages. These were labelled – family, children, domestic or standard – so basically you chose which amount of filtering was applied to your web browsing. The very worst part was that you would never know to what extent you had agreed as the blocked web sites in each list would not be made public. The web sites would be assigned by the Prime Ministry’s Information Technology Board (BTK) and you can be assured that there would be many thousands of sites in these blocked lists.

Update – There are reports that both Twitter and Facebook have been blocked (03rd June), am going to verify this using my Turkish proxy server.

How to Find a Turkish Proxy

The internet used to be one big happy family, where we could all go to the same websites and see exactly the same. However this is not the case anymore and many web sites block or restrict access based on your location – here’s how you can use a Turkish proxy to access web sites restricted to people in Turkey only.

You might not think there are many sites which only allow access from Turkey like this but you may be surprised, many Turkish banks, TV stations, online newspapers and YouTube videos are accessible only if you have a Turkish IP address. Of course there’s only two ways this can happen –

  1. You’re in Turkey
  2. Using a Turkish Proxy or VPN to hide your real address

Where to find a Turkish Proxy

Now you can find free proxy servers online, but you’ll be struggling to find a Turkish one that isn’t going to infect your PC with malware and allow the administrator to run off with your account details if you try and log in to anything. So you’ll be left with one of the paid VPN or proxy providers, although there’s not many that supply a Turkish server.

The one I use is called Overplay and they have been around for many years. Here’s the interface of the connection program –

Connected via Turkish Proxies
Select a Turkish Proxy

All you do is scroll down the list and select the desired country, in this case Turkey then press connect.  From this point in all your traffic will be encrypted and  routed through the Turkish server and you will appear to be connecting from Istanbul (where the server is located).

You can see from this screen shot now when I visit Google I actually get redirected to the Turkish version –

Turkish Google

When you have finished you merely select deselect, or if you need to access content in another country then connect through a different server.  For example if you’re in Turkey and want to access the BBC Iplayer you would choose a UK server.  If you needed to access some American only sites like Hulu then choose one of the US servers.

It can be a challenge finding Turkish proxies to use however, you won’t find any free ones and some sites charge a lot of money for them. Fortunately for anyone looking for specific proxies like ones from Turkey, then Overplay have the biggest proxy/VPN server network anywhere and they only a charge a small subscription fee to cover all their servers which you can cancel at any time instantly.

I can thoroughly recommend them – Overplay VPN Service.

Edit – after recent events in Turkey from Erdogan thought this might be relevant – Turkish Block Twitter

Privatisation of Censorship in China

Here’s a new lucrative, money making profession that could be creating a few millionaires across the globe over the next few years.  It goes under various names like internet scrubbers, online reputation management or image repair – and firms are making lots of money especially in China.

Firms and wealthy individuals are paying specialists to  ensure that any mentions that appear online are all positive and that any negative comments are removed from view.  In China one of the biggest firms of this sort are called Yage Times and are fronted by Gu Genda a 30 year old entrepreneur from Beijing.

In China the number of firms like this are growing.  They work something like this, a big company or person may be receiving bad publicity online – perhaps a rumor or potential scandal is being talked about online.  Of course this is perfectly natural but in a very connected online society like China this can have a huge impact on a company or individual’s reputation.

So they hire someone like Yage Times to ensure that negative content and discussions are removed or at least fade from view rapidly.   This can be very complicated and extremely costly but many firms are willing to pay the price.

Unfortunately it’s not always easy to do this.  There are of course ways to make online pages and posts slowly disappear from view by affecting their ranking in the search engines.  But if a negative story appears on a popular and high ranking news site or block it’s not going to fade away easily – at least not until it’s been viewed by millions of people.

So what can you do?  Well apparently the initial attempts to remove unwanted stories involves bribing the publishers to remove or modify the items.  For bigger sites this wouldn’t always work so Yage Times consultants would then forge Government documents enforcing the removal of specific content from their site.

As the Chinese government actively censor huge sections of the web this would rarely come as a big surprise.  In fact many Chinese people routinely connect via a US or UK IP address to avoid these filters. It’s another huge growth area ironically because of all the restrictions that have been put in place by the Chinese authorities – here’s one that’s extremely popular – best VPN software.

censorship

These tactics have ensured some big profits for companies like these, but not surprisingly the Chinese Government were not impressed – Gu Genda and about 10 others are now in custody awaiting trial for various charges including bribery.

Censorship of the internet is rife in China, but it seems the state would rather keep the monopoly.  The story was raised by a Chinese magazine called Caixin.

It is not without irony that many comments and responses to the Caixin story have been deleted or censored shortly after publication!

 

 

 

Have a Banned IP Address?

Well if it is banned then it could be time for a change.  The simple truth is that your IP address is increasingly being used to control what you are allowed to access to on the web.    Every time you visit a web site, a forum or social networking site your IP is registered, recorded and sometimes even blocked.

Have you ever clicked on a video on YouTube and been told – “I’m sorry that video is not available in your area” – it will be due to your location, or more specifically the location of your IP address.  It might be that a video that is accessible in one country and blocked in others – the decision is made automatically , you may have a banned IP address for that video.

There are many other circumstances where your IP address may stop you accessing or viewing a web site.  I have a friend who has an obsession with several computer games (mainly WOW and COD), when not playing the game he spends lots of times on various forums related to the games.

Unfortunately he has rather a big mouth, and also a tendency to logon to these forums late at night when he’s had a couple of drinks. This combination has led him to being banned from multiple forums due to a particular outburst and he gets quite upset about this.

keepout-ip address

Anyway after trying to create a few new accounts and failing,  he realised that the ban was based on his IP address and asked me to help him change it.  He knew I was very interested in security and online privacy and thought I could help him.

You may be able to change it simply by resetting your modem, some ISPs will assign you a new address each time you logon.  Just check your IP address on your modem or router before resetting your connection, leave it off for a few minutes then reconnect.  You might find you’ve been assigned a brand new address, it should be enough to get you passed a forum IP ban.  However it won’t help with country address blocks like YouTube, Hulu or the BBC iPlayer I’m afraid, for those you’ll need an address in the specific country i.e. a British IP address for BBC, and American one for Hulu etc.  The other option which may help is to use a method like this just using DNS – http://dnsproxy.co.uk/

If you need to reliably switch between different Ip addresses at will, the reality is that it’s very easy to do.   In my friends case I merely pointed him at the security product I use called – Identity Cloaker.  All he had to do was select a server to use and he connected through a private proxy/vpn server – the forum was unable to detect his real IP address and he was able to register a brand new account.  Here’s an example screenshot – there are about hundreds of IP addresses to choose from spread across about a dozen countries.

Claoking IP address

Of course there are other methods of achieving this.  You could ask your ISP for a new IP address, or perhaps swap ISPs altogether.  If you’re getting lots of problems it might be worth doing this as sometimes IP addresses just get a bad name and get blocked in lots of situations.

It’s a pretty basic method but millions of people now use security products – the best proxy program I’ve used is Identity Cloaker to have complete control over their privacy and to enable them to switch IP addresses when they need to.

How to Get a British IP Address

Lot’s of people arrive at this site asking this question, how can they change their IP address to a British one.   Mostly it’s Ex-Pats or people who just have some connection with the UK, or simply want to do something like watching the BBC Iplayer abroad.

The reason is that although the internet used to be pretty much open and standard for everyone, that is changing all the time.  Wherever you are based I am sure you’ve been presented somewhere with a message saying ‘sorry you can’t watch’  or ‘not available in your country’  – it happens to all of us wherever we are based.  Of course it happens a lot more if you’re in a country like China or Thailand who heavily censor the internet, but you’ll still get blocked by companies even if you’re based in Britain, France or the USA.

Anyway  this post is specifically about how people can  get a British IP address so I’ll focus on that.  The IP address is the number assigned to you when you connect to the internet,  it’s unique to you and can be used to identify you and your location.  This is what a site like Hulu, or the BBC do when you first connect to their sites – check the location of your IP address.

Here’s what happens if I try and watch the new Stargazing programme on BBC Iplayer –

 You’ll just get this message, whether you’re in the US, Spain, Japan or Canada it doesn’t matter.  If you’re not in the UK you won’t have been assigned a British address when you connected.  This is the same thing that happens when you get a message from YouTube about the content not being available in your country – it’s checking your location and deciding what you can see.

But now a small confession, at the moment I am actually in the UK and I’ve tricked the BBC Iplayer application to believing I’m in France.  It’s just for demonstration to show that it is perfectly possible to control your IP address and surf completely unrestricted.

Here’s how – fortunately it’s perfectly possible to cloak your real IP address and show the site your visiting a completely different one.  You basically connect to the web through an intermediary, or specifically a proxy server – when you connect to a site, the IP address presented is that of the server.  So if you use a French proxy you’ll have a French IP address, a US proxy will give you an American address, a German proxy a German address  and of course a British proxies will give you a British IP address.

Because this opens up so many different web sites a mini-industry has been created with applications that allow you to connect to a network of private proxies which allow you to control your IP address.  Here’s the very best of them – a program called Identity Cloaker.

Hopefully you can see from this screen shot, that the software allows you to connect to any number of proxy servers based all over the world – From Australia, USA, Canada, France and of course the United Kingdom and many, many more.

You simply click and select the country you wish to appear from, a huge list of fake identities to hide your real location.  It’s all perfectly safe and legal you’re merely hiding details of your connection from the website you are visiting.  In the screenshot here – I’ve got a German IP address to watch a site that streams some great films but is only available in Germany.

To watch  the BBC Iplayer, if you’re not in the UK then you’d simply select one of the British proxies, it’s actually one of the most popular uses of Identity Cloaker and why they have a huge number of British servers !  Even crossing the border makes a difference, which is why lots of people use it to watch BBC iPlayer In Ireland too.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by some online blocks then this is your solution.  It’s the most sophisticated  yet utterly simple to use and has by far the fastest proxies available.

The trial version lasts ten days and doesn’t automatically rebill like many such applications.   Best to test it out first  – believe me it opens up a huge number of websites that you may have been blocked from previously and doesn’t just include a British IP address there’s lots more countries watch US Netflix, Hulu and ABC for instance  – here’s the link for the  10 day trial of Identity Cloaker.

Additional Reading
http://www.uktv-online.com/

Internet and Web Filtering – Using DNS

All across the world – most countries, government and organisations are  blocking access to bits of the internet they don’t want you to see.  Of course sometimes this censorship seems sensible but it’s interesting to know the actual methods that are used.

There’s three main methods

  • IP Address Filters
  • URL (Content) Filters
  • DNS Filtering

Most of these can be fairly easily bypassed though which is an important point in itself.  Because  there are numerous ways to avoid these filters then by definition they are only censoring those who don’t have access to any of these methods.  In effect you have two distinct groups – one group who are censored and those who aren’t.

Anyway this post is intended to briefly explain one of these methods and that’s DNS filtering.

Filtering the Internet Using DNS

This method is also known as DNS tampering and is quite a clumsy method of blocking access to sites.  There are some slight variations in the way it is implemented.  However normally it starts with the ISPs in a particular country receiving a list of domain names that they want blocked.

Now normally when you type in a web address into your browser, DNS is responsible for mapping that name to a specific IP address.  Your computer will make a request to the ISP DNS server asking for the correct address and then your browser will be able to locate the correct web page.

However using DNS filtering the DNS server is instructed to deliver an incorrect address and instead routes you through to a different page.   So for instance if you just wanted to check out a porn site in Qatar, instead of being routed through to  the Playboy server you’d receive this screen instead.

In this example you’ve been redirected to a rather stern web page, but sometimes it will just be routed to an error page or to an non-existent address to look like it simply failed.   One of the many problems with this method is that it only operates with a full domain name – so for example if a country wanted to block access to a YouTube video by this method, it would have to block access to all of YouTube.

It’s a very simple and blunt filtering system and is in fact incredibly easy to bypass.  All you have to do is replace the ISP DNS server with another one that distributes the correct addresses.   There are thousands available from all over the world, you can even run your own.    A reliable one that may people use is the Google DNS server.

If you are not sure where to change the DNS server have a look at this next screenshot.

Here is where you add them in Vista in the properties tab of your network connection.  If you specify a DNS server here then that connection will use that one to resolve addresses.  If you don’t specify a DNS server you will end up using the one auto assigned by your ISP when you connect.  If you have any problems there are configuration screens for all versions of Windows on the Google DNS Link above. Here’s an update to include a variation on using DNS to bypass/filter web sites it’s called Smart DNS – you can see a video about it here.

This is becoming a part of everyone’s life online, where companies and countries try to restrict access to content.  The technology available to open it up again is also developing – whether it’s blocks from countries like China or people using American DNS for Netflix viewing,

It’s a very easy type of filtering to bypass when  you know how.  It’s not really worth the bother especially as it’s really messing around with a fundamental component of the World Wide Web.   If everyone started putting false entries in their DNS servers we’d end up with an extremely unreliable internet infrastructure.

 

Proxies and Protocols

Many people use proxies for a variety of different reasons.  Some use them for security, basically using the proxy server to hide their identity(and IP address) from the web site they are visiting.   Others use them to bypass blocks which are based on IP addresses.  these could include if your IP address is banned from a forum or site for some reason or when it’s blocked because of it’s location .  This is surprisingly common and major sites like the BBC, Hulu, ABC and YouTube block access to millions based on their location.

So it’s not surprising that so many people use proxies for these reasons, but most people don’t have much of an idea of how they actually work.   For instance if you start filtering all your traffic through  a proxy then you are effectively expecting it to handle all sorts of different protocols.  If you filter through a foreign country perhaps through a German or Turkish proxy or maybe a UK TV VPN  then you’ll also appear to be located here.

So How Does A Proxy Handle all These Protocols?

Well to be honest some don’t, if you use any of the free ad financed web proxies you see online they’ll frequently fall over or fail to connect.  But a well configured proxy should be able to handle most of the protocols you send through it.  This is because the proxy operates at the Application Layer of the OSI Model.

This means that to some extent a proxy server can actually understand what is happening.  The proxy has two basic ways of dealing with the traffic – it can either proxy or tunnel the protocol.   If it understand the protocol you can do neat things like filter it, perform advanced logging and even operate access control to deny or allow access.

If the proxy doesn’t understand a protocol then it will just act as a dumb tunnel and forward and receive the data between the client and server.  For instance you’ll find that the vast majority of web based proxies have no support for SSL as they don’t understand it.

Proxies will normally be able to handle protocols that also operate at the application level like HTTP, Gophur and FTP for instance.  When using a proxy server though remember you are entrusting it with all your personal data that you are sending through your browser – take care using proxies that you know nothing about.  The reality is that setting up a free proxy server is a great way of stealing peoples usernames, passwords and other identity related information.

 

Looking for a List of Free Secure Proxies?

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.