Every time you get into the online space, you expose yourself to specific vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for easy targets. For them, the grass is indeed greener right now. Many people have had to shift to working from home.
The Corona pandemic made it impossible for life to continue as usual. With more people going online to work, the rate of cybercrime has shown a significant increase.
A 2020 statistics on cybercrime shows you just how bad the situation is. 1% of global GDP will go towards fighting cybercrime. There is an increase in cases of phishing, Cryptocurrency theft, and spyware. If there was ever a time to think about online security, it is now.
Our article will explore how proxy servers help with security.
What Is a Proxy Server, and How Can It Help With Security
A proxy server is a middleman or intermediary between you and remote servers. Any traffic going out or coming into your browser goes through the proxy server.
So you may be wondering how does it help when the traffic goes through the proxy Gateway?
- Sieving of Harmful Content
Let us use the analogy of a security officer in a building or at the airport. If you want to gain entry into the establishment, they will check you and your luggage. The reason for doing this is to ensure you are not carrying any harmful material. They will frisk you for weapons or contraband.
You know what happens if they get you with any of those. The guards may confiscate the items and let you pass through. In cases of drugs or weapons, you may need to cool your heels behind bars.
The proxy server is that security guard in our analogy above. It creates a firewall that will keep out any external threats. Any traffic going in or out goes through a filtration or sieving process. Any harmful content does not get entry to your site. It keeps you safe from malware or any type of attack that hackers or cyber-criminals may use.
Content filtering is standard in organizations or educational institutions. It allows for control over sites that staff members or students can access. Parents can also use proxies to monitor the activities of their children online. You can block specific high-risk sites through the proxy server.
- Privacy and Anonymity While Online
You want to be able to browse the internet without everyone knowing what you are up to. You also do not want to alert cybercriminals that you are present on the online streets. A proxy server will give you privacy by hiding your IP.
When you are online, anyone can locate you using your IP address. Every time you browse the internet, you are visible to anyone who may be interested in you. It means cybercriminals can track you using this address.
Think about it like a burglar having your physical address. When you use a socks proxy, it will shield your IP address. Instead of sending your request using your IP, it uses its own. The remote server does not get to see where you are because it will not have access to your IP address information.
It is important to note that different proxies give different functionalities. It is especially critical to understand what you're buying if you're looking for privacy and anonymity. Some will show your IP address, while others will not. If you want to remain anonymous while online, go for anonymous, distorting, or high anonymity proxies. They do not reveal themselves as proxies and will also not show your IP address.
Other types like transparent proxies will not hide your IP address. You, therefore, do not get any privacy or security. You do however benefit from content filtration, which still gives you some security.
The advantage of anonymity is you get to access content that may not be accessible in a specific geographic location. Geo-blocking is a tactic that some companies use to deny content to certain areas. Video streaming services and companies like Netflix and BBC iPlayer are good examples. By installing a proxy, you can bypass such restrictions. Your location will not be visible to the remote server as you'll be using their proxy IP address.
- Data Encryption with Proxies
Proxy servers will encrypt data between you and the remote server. Data encryption ensures that third parties cannot get access to the information.
Organizations may also use proxies together with root certificates for additional safety. The proxy assumes the man in the middle position.
Data encryption also protects you from the prying eyes of the internet service providers (ISP). When shopping for a proxy, make sure that you buy one that offers data encryption. Not all of them have this functionality, yet it is an excellent way to stay safe on the online platform.
You should also note that the proxy provider can view your activities online. They do have access to your IP address and any traffic that passes to and fro. It is crucial that you get your proxy from a reputable, trustworthy company.
We have looked at how proxy servers help with security. Proxy servers provide that additional layer of safety, even if you have other measures in place. It is essential to determine what your needs are before you go shopping.
Do you only want online security, or do you want privacy as well? Do you want to be able to access content that has geo-blocking? Are you a parent or employer who wants to keep track of online activities? Once you have your checklist, it becomes easier to shop for a proxy server.
Take the time to research the proxy provider. They will have access to your information, and you need to know that it is in safe hands. That is why it is a good idea to go for the paid options. With the free ones, you are never quite sure what you are signing up for.