Whether you want to hide your original IP to surf anonymously or whether you wish to bypass filters and security restrictions, if you are new to the world of proxies, you would surely Google the options available. You would eventually end up seeing a lot of people chatting about “free proxies”. The choice of opting for a free proxy may look quite enticing initially but strange as it may sound this is one option which could land you in a lot of trouble!
In addition to not being able to provide support services, free proxies also pose a serious threat to the security of your data that you so naively share with them. To understand why this is true, it is important to know how proxies work. Basically proxies are end to end connections between their users and a distant location. The users send their data to the proxy server; the proxy server does its abracadabra thing on it and forwards the traffic to the wider internet. The most sensitive part of the entire process is when users share their data with these free proxies.
The biggest reason why such free proxies are unsafe is that quite a few of them don’t have HTTPS. HTTPS is a protocol which ensures that connection remains true and secure between two parties and helps protect the private interaction between the two from being a victim to malicious tampering or eavesdropping by a third party (which also includes the proxy provider).
Just recently, an Austrian based security researcher by the name of Christian Haschek with the help of his Proxy Checker tool made a startling revelation. According to Haschek out of the 25543 proxies on internet only about 52 percent are active. Out of those 52 percent online proxies a whopping 62 percent don’t have HTTPS. This says a lot about the risk internet users are taking while they use such proxies.
If these proxies disallow the use of HTTPS then it is highly likely that they might be prying on the data that goes via them. To make matters even worse these proxies are behind 18 percent of the modified HTML and 20 percent of modified Java Scripts. This skyrockets the probability that many such proxies are totally dangerous for use and can cost their users a lot.
Such proxies breed internet scams such as credit card frauds and other illegal acts. Haschek has already ringed the alarm bell and said that they “can analyze your traffic and steal your logins.”
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Using “paid” known VPN providers is a much secure and sound option than relying on distrustful freebies.