How anonymous can proxy servers be?

03.02.20 в 10:00 Other 1498

Working on the Internet through a proxy you may realize, that the proxy does not actually provide anonymity whatsoever.

Well, usually proxy's anonymity does not affect your workflow, but quite sometimes its sudden absence can ruin everything. Therefore, it is important to choose a proxy with the appropriate level of anonymity.

Below we will tell you what types of proxy servers provide certain degree of anonymity, as well as what data the proxy sends to the destination server when connecting to it.

Scheme

What data can proxy send?

When you request certain data from the server, whether you connect via a proxy or directly, your browser sends a number of parameters about you and your device. Data can be essential or optional for correct and effective display of content. However, some of this data may be hidden from the destination server, which determines the degree of anonymity of the proxy.

Here is what data can spoil your anonymity:

  • Client's IP address (your real address)
  • Proxy's IP address (if it is not hidden)
  • Version of your operating system
  • Version of your web browser
  • Some information about browser settings
  • Country and city of the user's location (identified by IP)
  • Contact details of your ISP (identified by IP)
  • Some arbitrary data

Easy accessibility of this almost private information about the user can drastically complicate the performance of certain tasks or disclose your personality on the Internet.

For this reason, there are so-called anonymous proxies that actually hide information its user.

How personal data is transferred. Environment variable

The transfer of the entire array of data from the client to the server takes place in the form of environment variables. In this case, the information is presented in the format of

"Variable Name" = " Value»

The table below shows some examples of these variable values.

Variable name

Example of a variable value

HTTP_HOST

rsocks.net

HTTP_REFERER

www.nulled.to/topic/342649-20000-ips-for-10-a-mont...

HTTP_USER_AGENT

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:6.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0.2

REMOTE_ADDR

159.138.21.170

HTTP_VIA

159.138.21.170

HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR

36.89.180.217


And these are just some of the variables used talking to the server, there are about twenty of them in total. Nonetheless, the proxy may not send some of the variables values that contain the client's personal data. Then a variable with an empty value is passed to the server. Depending on which variables are hidden, a proxy server can be referred to as transparent, anonymous, or elite.

Transparent proxies

Proxies that do not hide the client's real IP address are called transparent. Such proxies cannot be used as an anonymity tool. Instead, they are used for other purposes, such as caching traffic or configuring and controlling Internet access for corporate network clients.

Thus transparent proxies do not hide values of the following variables:

REMOTE_ADDR – the IP address from which the server is actually accessed;
HTTP_VIA – the IP address of the proxy;

HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR – the real IP address of the client;

Proxy

What are anonymous proxy servers?

In addition to transparent proxy servers, you can find more common anonymous proxies. They are called anonymous because they hide any information about their client from the final recipient. Depending on the amount of masked data, anonymous proxies are divided into regular anonymous, distorting, and elite ones.

A regular anonymous proxy differs from a transparent one only in that the actual IP address of the client is not contained within http_x_forwarded_for variable, but is replaced by the address of the proxy itself. In this case the variables have the same values:

REMOTE_ADDR – proxy IP address;
HTTP_VIA-proxy IP address;
HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR – proxy IP address;

In this case, the use of a proxy in an attempt to conceal the client's real address is obvious, but if the web server allows connections through a proxy, then its use is justified.

A distorting proxy differs slightly from a regular anonymous proxy in that the client's address is replaced with a randomly generated IP address instead of the proxy itself, which gives a slightly higher level of anonymity:

REMOTE_ADDR – proxy IP address;
HTTP_VIA – proxy IP address;
HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR – randomly generated IP address;

For tasks that require the highest level of anonymity, elite proxies must be used. In addition to hiding the client's address, these proxies disguise their very use and pass empty variable values, as if connecting to the target site directly, without mediation:

REMOTE_ADDR – IP address of the elite proxy server;
HTTP_VIA – empty variable value;
HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR – empty variable value;

Such proxies can be used to work with resources that have strict access rules and block users who are caught hiding their real IP address.

Choosing the right solution among proxy services, you should clearly understand what requirements the proxy must meet in order to successfully work with the resources you need, and you will be able to find the optimum option for you.

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