Web censorship continues to soar and at that, more people are tending to the use of proxy servers. Proxy servers have their own great advantages, which can grant you access to restricted web content. This they accomplished by masking your identity and assuming you a different credential, making you anonymous online. Just like everything else that comes with a price, several proxy servers out there come with a fee. Nevertheless, there’re also quite a number of others that do come free and free always look good, but are they? Most people are embracing the free stuff not knowing the security threats and risks free proxy servers possesses. Using one should be considered a security risk. Anyways, before we explain the threats and risks of free proxy servers, lets first understand what a proxy server is.
What is a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is an intermediary between your device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, or computer) and the internet. What a proxy server does is to help you make requests to websites, servers, and services by acting as your device on the internet. A typical example of a proxy server is seeing it as both a messenger and a traffic controller. Everything you do on the internet passes through it, for it controls and delivers you your requests. Apart from providing you a high level of privacy, proxy servers nowadays can do much more for you. They can act as a firewall and web filter. They also do provide shared network connections and cache data to speed up common requests.
Why you should use a Proxy server
If you have the need to accomplish any of the listed below, then you should consider the use of a proxy server.
- To control your children internet usage
- Privacy online
- Improved security
- To be granted access to restricted contents
- Improved speed and bandwidth savings
These are the main reasons people use proxy servers. Although, by using one, you are not totally devoid of risks. You are even more exposed when you chose to use a free proxy.
Risks and Threats pose by free Proxy Servers
Proxy servers can be used for a fee or free. I would always advise for the paid ones. Having a free proxy server means they are other ways the company makes its money. They do so in order to meet up expense cost which can be detrimental to the user. Just like the saying goes “if you’re getting it for free, you’re actually the product”. Notwithstanding, free proxies always have poor and unsecured services. There are quite a number of good reasons why you should never go for a free proxy server. Below are just a few of the lots.
Your browsing history log can be viewed and sold
Most free proxy servers may store your requested information while using their service. This they can use for monetary gains to pay the cost of running the business. By having your information harvested, they can do whatever they like with it or simply sell it out to third parties. If your aim of using a proxy server is for privacy, using a free service is a much higher risk.
The service is always poor
Their level of technical expertise is always very poor too. Majority of these free proxies are typically slow. This is due to the type and capacity of the hardware used. Nevertheless, most of these free proxies have a dense number of people on their servers which also affects the speed rate.
You end up being more exposed
Using a free proxy for privacy purpose might actually cost you more harm than good. The risk can be higher if the proxy server doesn’t use a secured connection (HTTPS) which is very common among free proxies. By using a proxy without an (HTTPS) connection you are open to threats and your information can be easily compromised. Furthermore, this can cause your login and personal information being spied upon.
You can be impersonated
One reason you might use a free proxy is that you trust them to masked you and get your task done. This can be risky, as they also can steal your personal details as entered by you while using their server. This they can use for various purposes and one is to use it to impersonate you at another time.
You are exposed to malware
Free always come with a price and by using a free proxy, you are risking your computer to malware. This malware can be aim at showing you targeted ads or by infecting your device. If your device is infected, a lot can be carried out without your knowledge, exposing you to various threats.
Word of caution
Whenever you wish to use a proxy server, you should always go for a paid one. Although, you might have some constraining factors and using a free proxy should always come with some good reasons. It might be just to have a quick skip to country restrictions and have access to content not opened to you. Or you just want to browse anonymously on the internet. Whatever your reasons, you should be as cautious as possible. Never should you submit any personal information or login details on a free proxy. You are never sure who has access to the server and doing so might put you at higher risk.
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