Written by Mad Marcus
Ok, so some of you have questions about proxies,
their use, how they work, and many others...
So I have decided to write this short essay for the -=ICE Fortress=- visitors to explain my take on proxies.
Proxies are a sort of server, usually designed for the use of an internal network to forward traffic to the internet and back to the internal machine. Naturally, most of you have heard of them throught their other use, which is, that if they are not configured to block it they can also be used to forward outside traffic, from machines anywhere on the internet to other places on the internet.
Depending on how the proxy is set up and what kind of proxy it is, it may also be more or less "anonymous", as we tend to describe them.
What is this anonymity? Well, in most basic, it is what information the proxy reveals to the machine you connect to through it about wether or not the connection is made by a proxy and the IP address of the machine making the connection if it does reveal that it is a proxied connection.
Your machine --- your ip address --- server
Your machine --- your ip address --- proxy server --- proxies ip address --- server
This is, of course simplistic, as there is a lot of other information the server can gather about who is connecting to it, called "ennvironmental variables" besides the ip address. But it is a basic illustration of what the process looks like.
What are these environmental variables??
There are a LOT. But the nature of them varies from the IP address of the computer connecting, the OS, wether or not it is forwarded by a proxy, what kind of documents are viewable by the machine (gif,jpeg,html,etc), so you get the idea.
Any of the variables, which actually give information about your computer are called "spills", for example if the proxy reveals your real ip address, we would say it spills your ip, and also that it is transparent, or non-anonymous.
To see what environmental variables are spilled about your connection you could go to a proxy judge like the one at deny.de, for just anonymity testing, or for a full set of variables go to all-nettools.com (formerly Tamos).
The thing about this is that if you plan on doing any serious work, you will probably have to sort through dozens if not hundreds of proxies. So, manual proxy configuration in your browser is not recommended nor is using the proxy judges one at a time for each proxy.
So, what to do?
I recommend, Multiproxy. (http://proxy.nikto.net/) *now http://www.multiproxy.org/*
This small prggie allows you to load a whole list of proxies, and test them all, delete the ones that are dead or non-anonymous, and sort the reamining ones by speed. Also allows you to set your browser and any other proggies you might want to use a proxy for to connect to multiproxy on your local machine by local loopback (127.0.0.1) on port 8088, and it will then forward you to the fastest and most anonymous proxies in your list.
What is local loopback? It is an IP address that every machine with tcp/ip has which allows you to connect to your own machine through any tcp/ip program or service as though it were a remote address.
The site also has a pretty good list of anonymous, and regular proxies. Though if it hasn't been updated recently they will probably be mostly dead, as happens with proxies.
Why, you ask, do proxies go dead? Because the admin who set them up probably did not do so with you in mind, he set them up for his local network or domain. And if he notices WAY too much traffic on them, in his logs after awhile, he figures out that people are using his proxy that aren't supposed to be and shuts off outside access.
Also, another good tool for proxy testing is the portions of Golden eye that deal with proxies and proxy testing, very quick and much more descriptive than multi-proxy. Multiproxy will only tell you anon. or non-anon. while GE will actually tell you what level and comments on anything you should know about the connection.