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Proxy FAQ

What is proxy?

When Web Proxy Servers are Useful?

How does proxy server cache documents?

How to set up Internet Explorer 6.x for using proxy?

How to set up Netscape Navigator 6.x for using proxy?

What is a wingate?

How does proxy server work?

What is an anonymous proxy server?

Is it legal to surf through open proxies?

How to check proxies?

What environment variables sending by proxy are significant for privacy?

What is a proxyjudge?

For entry-level admins. What are the dangers of having an open proxy?

For entry-level admins. What is an open proxy?

Anonymizer / CGI proxy / web proxy: what is this?

What level of anonymity does CGI Proxy support?

What additional abilities does a CGI proxy have?

How can I find CGI proxy?

How to detect your IP if you are using an anonymous proxy server? (1)

How to detect your IP if you are using an anonymous proxy server? (2)

What is proxy?

If you are new to proxy, read the proxy definitions below. Hope it will help you to understand what is proxy server and how does it work.

  1. Proxy - a server setup designed to offer either firewall security or faster access to cached content normally accessible only through slower connections.
  2. Proxy server - is the software installed on some network server. The main purpose of this software is to relay traffic between two network hosts (client and server), sometimes this software does some data caching (usually this is performed by HTTP proxies). If your browser is configured to work through the proxy server then all your network traffic will go through that proxy server. The main purposes of proxy servers:
    - Transfer speed improvement (in case of caching proxies). You may use your ISP's proxy to access the internet - usually you have better connection to your ISP's proxy than to other hosts, if this proxy has the resource you requested from the internet you will get a copy of it from proxy (from its cache).
    - Security and privacy (for HTTP). Anonymous proxies hide information about your computer in the request headers, so you can safely surf the net and your information will never be used in any way.
    - LAN interconnection (or LAN to WAN connection). Sometimes you experience some problems while accessing the server located in the other network (for example in the internet).
  3. Obviously, there are 3 types of HTTP proxies:
    - Fully anonymous (elite or hightanonymous) proxies. Such proxies do not change request fields and look like real browser. You real IP is also hidden of course. People that administrating internet servers will think that you are not using any proxies.
    - Anonymous proxies also do not show your real IP but change the request fields, so it is very easy to detect that proxy while log analyzing. Nothing really matters, but some server administrators restrict the proxy requests.
    - Transparent proxies (not anonymous, simply HTTP) change the request fields, also they transfer real IP. Such proxies are not applicable for security and privacy while surfing on net. You can use them only for network speed improvement.

When Web Proxy Servers are Useful?

You can use a proxy server for:

- Permitting and restricting client access to the Internet based on the client IP address.

- Caching documents for internal documents. - Selectively controlling access to the Internet and subnets based on the submitted URL.

- Providing Internet access for companies using private networks.

- Converting data to HTML format so it is readable by a browser.

How does proxy server cache documents?

Some proxy servers let you cache internet documents for clients within the local area network. Caching documents means keeping a local copy of internet documents, so that the server doesn’t need to request them over and over again. Caching is more effective on the proxy server than on each client system. This saves disk space because only a single copy is cached. Caching on the proxy server means more documents that are often referenced by multiple browsers can be cached more efficiently. The system administrator can predict which documents are worth caching for a long time and which are not. It is easy to configure an entire workgroup to use the proxy server’s cache of documents. This reduces the load on the server by allowing it to get information from the cache when responding to subsequent client requests for the same data. Caching also makes it possible to browse the Web even if a Web server, or even the external network, is down, as long as one can connect to the proxy server. This improves service to remote network resources, such as busy FTP sites and transient Gopher servers that are often unavailable remotely, but may be cached locally. You can also cache a presentation you plan to present elsewhere when you are unsure of the location’s Internet capabilities.

How to set up Internet Explorer 6.x for using proxy?

1. Click "Service" \ "Internet Options";
2. Click "Connections";
3. If you use Dial-Up connection, choose your connection and click "Settings" button,
    if you use LAN connection, click "LAN Settings" button in the "Local Area Network (LAN) Settings" group box;
    Enable "use a proxy server";
4. In fields "Address" and "port", type proxy name and proxy port number;
5. If nessesary, enable "bypass proxy server for local addresses";
6. Click "OK";

How to set up Netscape Navigator 6.x for using proxy?

1. Click "Edit" \ "Preferences";
2. Click "Category" \ "Advanced" \ "Proxies";
3. Set "Manual proxy configuration";
4. Click "View" at "Manual proxy configuration";
5. Set proxies for following protocols: HTTP, FTP, etc.

What is a wingate?

A wingate is a proxy server that someone installs onto his or her computer which allows for multiple computers on a network to share a single Internet connection. Simple as that.

What are wingates used for? Primarily, wingates are used as an aid in FXP'ing files from one pub to another. FXP, or File eXchange Protocol, is a protocol that is mostly used by wingates only. However, a few other applications use FXP as well. Don't confuse FXP with FTP. They are completely seperate protocols. A pub is just a computer or a network. You'll often see things such as "...from pub A to pub B..." or similar when reading a document on wingates. Mentally, just say "...from system/network A to system/network B..."

How does proxy server work?

The proxy server acts as both a server system and a client system. It is a server when accepting HTTP requests from browsers, and acts as a client system when its browser software connects to remote servers to retrieve documents. The proxy server uses the header fields passed to it by the browser without modification when it connects to the remote server. This means the browser does not lose any functionality when going through a proxy.

A complete proxy server should be able to communicate all the Web protocols, the most important ones being HTTP, FTP, Gopher, and WAIS. Proxies that handle only a single Internet protocol, such as HTTP, are possible, but a Web browser would then require access to other proxy servers to handle the remaining protocols. When a browser sends a request through a proxy server, the browser always uses HTTP for the transactions with the proxy server. This is true even when the user wants to access a remote server that uses another protocol; for example, FTP. Instead of specifying only the pathname and search keywords to the proxy server, the browser specifies the full URL. This way the proxy server has all the information necessary to make the actual request to the remote server specified in the request URL, using the protocol specified in the URL.

What is an anonymous proxy server?

Anonymous (real anonymous!) proxy servers don't transfer the information about the IP-address of the client, and thus effectively hide the information about you and your surfing interests. Besides this, some proxy servers can also hide the very fact that you are surfing through a proxy server! Anonymous proxies can be used for all kinds of Web-services, such as Web-Mail (HotMail, Yahoo mail), web-chats, FTP archives, etc.

Is it legal to surf through open proxies?

Interesting question.... The primary argument against open proxies is that their owners may not have intended for them to be used by the public. However, by running a service on a machine accessible to the public, without restricting access to that service, the machine's administrator is implicitly consenting for that service to be used by the public.

The internet is a public network. With regard to US law in particular, 18 USC 1030 (which covers computer-related fraud and theft) applies only when the user has knowingly accessed a computer without authorization or has knowingly exceeded his authorized access on that computer. Because an open HTTP proxy, by default, allows connections and use of the service by anyone in the world, the proxy's administrator has essentially "authorized" everyone to use the service. There's no intentional bypassing of security taking place.

How to check proxies?

There is a many internet pages where you can find proxy lists. But some proxies are not working. For testing the proxies you can use "proxy checker" programs. For example you may use Proxy Checker v 7 (www.helllabs.net). Hell Labs Proxy Checker is a convenient tool for checking HTTP or Socks proxy lists, it provides information that allows you to choose required proxy of the huge list.
Program is able to query following information:
- IP address/hostname of the proxy server
- Type of the proxy server (HTTP/SOCKS)
- Response time of the proxy server
- “Ping from Host” value
- Speed of the proxy server
- Location (country) of the proxy server
- Address, provided by the Whois service
- Description, provided by the Whois service.

What environment variables sending by proxy are significant for privacy?

  1. If your proxy is not proxy, of course he sends your IP in REMOTE_ADDR variable.
  2. Transparent proxy sends your IP in HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR variable.
  3. Anonymous proxy server does not send HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR variable to host, this improves privacy since your IP address cannot be logged.
  4. High anonymous (elite) proxy server does not send HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR, HTTP_VIA and HTTP_Proxy_CONNECTION variables. Host doesn't even know you are using proxy server an of course it doesn't know your IP address.
Now let's see the examples of variable values detected by our host for your connection (btw, it's simple anonymity test):

1. REMOTE_ADDR =
2. HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR =
3. HTTP_VIA =
4. HTTP_Proxy_CONNECTION =

What is a proxyjudge?

Our proxy judges:
http://nntime.com/textenv.pl
http://samair.ru/cgi/textenv.pl

Proxy judges are simply .cgi scripts by which you can verify if a proxy is anonymous or not , it's nothing to do with the functioning of proxies nor with their connecting capabilities. There are 2 types of judges. CGI and AZ env controls variables which both can be used as externally and internally. Some CGI scripts is capable of giving levels to anon proxies as 1 to 5 which I don't think is necessary at all because a proxy is simply anon or not. Last ver. of cgi is V2.35. Its highly recommended to use AZ Env variables judges to get correct and fast information during proxy tests and last version is V.104. ... and... what makes a proxyjudge a proxyjudge... if it's opening in your browser, then its a proxyjudge!

For entry-level admins. What are the dangers of having an open proxy?

  • Security Risks
    Hackers will use an open proxy to hack other systems. This is a safe way for them to remain anonymous because they use your identity instead of their own. Many people will use a proxy just to hide requests they don't want traced to them.
  • Bandwidth Increase
    Hackers not only use your identity, but also your bandwidth. Your bandwidth usage has direct impact on your Internet services costs. When a proxy server is left open for a long period of time, this could have an impact on your Internet Services bill.
  • You could get blacklisted
    In addition to the two risks above, if you proxy server is running the "Connect" method, abusers will use your server to send spam mail. Because of this, your server will be used by spammers even if you mail server's relay is closed. Organizations will identify your server as a spam server and may add your server IP to their black list.

For entry-level admins. What is an open proxy?

By definition, a proxy is one who performs an action on an other's behalf. A proxy server accepts requests destined for a particular service and forwards it to the "real" service. Among other abilities, proxies can alter the appearance of the source of the request, or cache the results from the requested service so it can be used the next time something requests the same information. An open proxy is a proxy server left open for anyone who can find it to use as their own.

Anonymizer / CGI proxy / web proxy: what is this?

This type of proxy servers is called differently: CGI proxy, anonymizer (as the name of the most popular proxy server of this type is http://www.anonymizer.com/),web proxy etc. Proxy server of this type represents (from user’s point of view) a usual web-page, very similar to pages of search engines. But instead of search phrases you should type into an input field the URL of that site which you want to look at. Then, having pressed the "Submit" button or "Go", you will get onto page, which URL you have specified to a CGI proxy. But address of this page (in the address line) from the point of view of your computer will be another, something like this:
http://www.cgi-proxy.com/http/www.your-url.com/path/ for example: http://www.cgi-proxy.com/http/www.yahoo.com/
Using such proxy servers, you can anonymously surf all over the Internet, without changing settings of your browser and without using any additional programs. CGI proxy supports HTTP and (sometimes) FTP and HTTPS protocols.

What level of anonymity does CGI Proxy support?

As for anonymity, CGI proxies are the same, as the HTTP proxies:
1. Transparent - these proxies are not anonymous. They, first, let a web server know that there is used a proxy server and, secondly, "give away" an IP-address of a client. The task of such proxies, as a rule, is information caching and/or support of Internet access for several computers via single connection.
2. Anonymous - these proxy servers let a remote computer (web-server) know, that there is used a proxy, however, they do not pass an IP-address of a client.
3. Distorting - unlike the previous type, they transfer an IP-address to a remote web-server, however, this address is a phantom: randomly generated by a proxy server or any fixed (not your) IP. So, these proxies distort your IP address from the point of view of a web-server.
4. High anonymous (elite) – they do not send your IP-address to a remote computer. Also, they do not inform that there is used any proxy server! So, a web-server "thinks” that it works directly with a client.
This anonymity classification is rather conventional. There are many other classifications, specifying / expanding / generalizing this one.

What additional abilities does a CGI proxy have?

Unlike other types of proxy servers CGI proxies have considerably wider abilities as for information filtering. They can:
- Prohibit execution of active content (scripts) on a page - JavaScript, etc.
- Prohibit (or to leave only for itself, without passing to a client) cookie files
- Encode URL to which a request is addressed. For example, your request to the www.yahoo.com through CGI proxy in an address bar you will see something like that: http://www.cgi-proxy.com/abcd104dflsjuywe34sdfispd345klksfdsl So a system administrator viewing server logs with analysis purposes can not determine what server you have reached (www.sex.com or www.altavista.com).

How can I find CGI proxy?

Finding a site that allows you access to this script, is quite simple. As the filename of the script is normally nph-proxy.pl or nph-proxy.cgi, we can use Google to look for sites with pages matching this filename:

Another way of finding sites that allows you access to this script, is to search for the phrase "start using cgiproxy"

You will find that the first page might be no long active, blocked or require a subscription. Just go to the next page of results and you will soon find a page offering use of CGI Proxy or that links to another page offering access to CGI Proxy.

How to detect your IP if you are using an anonymous proxy server? (1)

Cookies

You cannot detect IP with the help of cookies. However, when you first visit a web site, your IP (i.e. your proxy server’s IP) is detected by the web server and then stored in the cookies. When you re-visit this site, the web server detects your IP again and checks it with the one stored in the cookies. If the IPs are not the same, the web server can “make certain conclusions”. Adn if you don’t disable cookies in your browser, no proxy will help you (anonymizers can disable cookies and stop relaying them to your machine).

How to detect your IP if you are using an anonymous proxy server? (2)

JavaScript / VBScript

They are special subprograms (scripts) run by the client’s browser. Therefore, no matter how hard you try to setup your browser (unless you disable these active scripts), you won’t be able to hide your real IP. These scripts are actually classified as simple programs and have very limited number of functions, however they are able to detect your IP as well as many other settings of your browser. Besides, these scripts can change your browser settings!  

Java

Unlike JavaScript, Java is a full-featured programming language and so, Java scripts have a many additional options (particularly, detecting or changing your browser settings). In other words, Java programs can easily detect your IP as well as practically all settings of your browser.
As far as it goes to protecting your IP from detecting by Java scripts, this is much more complicated: the most secure and probably the only way is to completely disable Java in browser settings, as long as Java has many network functions and it’s quite difficult to switch them all off.
There is a multilevel protection from these scripts. You can restrict a script from accessing your browser features. However, the best way of protecting your browser is to completely disable active scripts. You can disable scripts directly in anonymizers.

 

 

OTHER

 
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