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HideMyAss.com

Hide My IP Address

The most common method to hide your IP address is to use a proxy server in one form or another. A proxy server is a computer that offers a computer network service to allow clients to make indirect network connections to other network services. A client connects to the proxy server, then requests a connection, file, or other resource available on a different server. The proxy provides the resource either by connecting to the specified server or by serving it from a cache. In some cases, the proxy may alter the client’s request or the server’s response for various purposes.

There are several implementations of proxy servers that you can use to hide your IP address (in an attempt to remain anonymous on the internet):

Website Based Proxy Servers

A Website based proxy server is a website that provides a form for you to enter the URL of a website that you wish to anonymously visit. When you submit the form the website proxy server makes a request for the page that you want to visit. The machine usually does not identify itself as a proxy server and does not pass along your IP address in the request for the page. The features of these sites vary (ad blocking, JavaScript blocking, etc) as does their price. Some are free and some charge.

Browser Configured Proxy Servers

There are also stand along proxy servers that allow for you to configure your browser to route your browser traffic through that machine, which then makes a request for a page on your behalf, and then sends you the results. These are usually used at no cost to the user. Since they are accessible to the public these are often quite slow. Please see instructions for using a proxy server. There are a variety of types of these proxy servers:

  • Transparent Proxy – This type of proxy server identifies itself as a proxy server and also makes the original IP address available through the http headers. These are generally used for their ability to cache websites and do not effectively provide any anonymity to those who use them. However, the use of a transparent proxy will get you around simple IP bans. They are transparent in the terms that your IP address is exposed, not transparent in the terms that you do not know that you are using it (your system is not specifically configured to use it.) This type of proxy server does not hide your IP address.
  • Anonymous Proxy – This type of proxy server identifies itself as a proxy server, but does not make the original IP address available. This type of proxy server is detectable, but provides reasonable anonymity for most users. This type of proxy server will hide your IP address.
  • Distorting Proxy – This type of proxy server identifies itself as a proxy server, but make an incorrect original IP address available through the http headers. This type of proxy server will hide your IP address.
  • High Anonymity Proxy – This type of proxy server does not identify itself as a proxy server and does not make available the original IP address. This type of proxy server will hide your IP address.
Installed Software Proxy Servers

There are a variety of companies and software packages available at either a one time cost or at an annual subscription. These are usually faster and more reliable than the above proxy servers.

Anonymous Proxy Risks

In using a proxy server (for example, anonymizing HTTP proxy), all data sent to the service being used (for example, HTTP server in a website) must pass through the proxy server before being sent to the service, mostly in unencrypted form. It is therefore possible, and has been demonstrated, for a malicious proxy server to record everything sent to the proxy: including unencrypted logins and passwords.

By chaining proxies which do not reveal data about the original requester, it is possible to obfuscate activities from the eyes of the user’s destination. However, more traces will be left on the intermediate hops, which could be used or offered up to trace the user’s activities. If the policies and administrators of these other proxies are unknown, the user may fall victim to a false sense of security just because those details are out of sight and mind.

The bottom line of this is to be wary when using proxy servers, and only use proxy servers of known integrity (e.g., the owner is known and trusted, has a clear privacy policy, etc.), and never use proxy servers of unknown integrity. If there is no choice but to use unknown proxy servers, do not pass any private information (unless it is properly encrypted) through the proxy.