Have you ever tried accessing a website but been unable to because it’s not available in your country? Or perhaps you want to keep your ISP and other websites from tracking you while you browse the web? For these situations, residential proxy network can offer a great solution. However, many users opt for free proxies instead, opening themselves up to a wide range of potential risks.
This article will look into free proxies and the risks they pose. We’ll also look at the difference between free and paid proxies so that you can understand why it’s better to spend money on a good proxy rather than opting for a free one. If you want to find out more about reliable proxies, click here.
We’ll be covering the following topics related to free proxies:
- How do proxies work?
- The difference between free and paid proxies
- The risks of using a free proxy
How Do Proxies Work?
Proxies work as the middleman between the user and the website they are accessing. A normal search query would go directly from the user to the search engine, which returns the relevant websites. However, with residential proxies in place, the search query will go to the proxy server first, and the server will then send it on to the search engine and return the results to the user. Any of your searches or actions are hidden behind the proxy. Nobody will see your search history or be able to track you.
There are many different types of high-quality paid proxies depending on what you need from your chosen proxy. There are residential proxies linked to real devices, thus avoiding IP bans. Then there are rotating ones that change your IP address with each new search. There are even one’s dedicated to social media and many others.
The Difference Between Free And Paid Proxies
The obvious difference between these two is, of course, the price. To get the real security and privacy benefits of a reliable proxy, you’ll have to pay for them. While free proxies promise the same amount of protection and the chance to bypass geo-restrictions, this comes at a cost that’s not financial. In order to offer these services for free, the servers have to sacrifice a lot on security and, in many cases, make money some other way, such as by selling your data. Christian Haschek, a computer programmer, ran some basic security tests on a few free proxies and found that 75% of them don’t allow an HTTPS (or secure) connection. Sounds fishy, right?
The Risks Of Using A Free Proxy
Now that we understand what a proxy is supposed to do and the differences between free and reliable ones, let’s take a look at the potential risks involved in using a free proxy.
Honeypotting Or Hackerpots
Honeypotting is a special whitehat technique that security specialists use to trap hackers. Honeypots are made to look at real websites and act as a lure for cybercriminals who think they are accessing a real network and stealing real data, but they aren’t. The tables have now been flipped, and many free proxies are now hackerpots. Instead of catching hackers, they catch unsuspecting users under the pretence of a free proxy. While the user is trapped, the hackers will monitor everything they do and collect their valuable data such as personal details, financial information and more.
Data leaks can also commonly occur with free proxies. Because the user believes they’re protected behind the safety of the proxy, they’re less vigil about their data security measures. Since the proxy can still see and monitor everything you do, they can also collect your data while they’re at it. And since they don’t really offer adequate protection, other websites can likely do the same.
Can Contain Malware
Proxies can also contain harmful malware that can infect the user’s computer as soon as the proxy is activated. The other source of malware is that to offer a free service, many of these providers rely on ad revenue. Many of these ads can be infected with malware that will cause further harm when clicked on.
Could Steal Cookies
Cookies are a type of file that’s stored on your computer after accessing a website. These are used mainly to provide the user with a better website experience. Some free proxies can intercept these cookies and use your data located in them to impersonate you on the internet.
These free services also don’t offer any support. There’s very little in the way of customer service. This means that if you get stuck, if you’re attacked or if you find out the proxy isn’t working; there’s not much you can do about it.
While a proxy can be a wonderful tool to protect your online anonymity and add another layer of security, free proxies are not worth the risk. These open proxies can infect you with malware, steal your information and more. For true online anonymity, choose residential proxy network instead.