Many anonymous proxy servers are purposely deployed to track activity and collect information about individuals who attempt to conceal their identities. Therefore usage of proxy servers may present more risks than benefits to an actual end user.
When you connect from your ISP directly to the destination server of a website, only your ISP and the statistics software installed on the destination website can track your activity. When you connect through a proxy server the following will occur:
- Red flags are set.
You expose yourself as a person who would like to hide your identity, setting up compositional red flags with your current ISP provider. Anonymizers are generally used by individuals wishing to avoid the consequences of engaging in criminal, disruptive, or socially unacceptable behavior online. As a result, your Internet activity will be more closely monitored and your national homeland security agency may be provided with your identity information for routine reporting purposes.
- Your information may be captured and stored for analysis by a third party organization.
The proxy servers are typically setup to intercept the information between the client and the server sides. An organization that provides anonymous proxy server services can be capturing any information you submit along with your detailed browsing activity. This information can be linked to your ISP account for further identity tracking. Additionally, even if you do not use a specific ISP, your previously captured browsing patterns allow linking you to your actual online identity.
- Your personal information may no longer be secure.
Any personal information you may be posting via various online login and info forms, including your email login credentials and bank information will be accessible at the point of access on the utilized proxy server. Stolen personal identities, money extortion and credit card fraud are just a few examples of the commonly occurring web proxy usage outcomes that are generally practiced by organized crime groups.
- Use proxies and provide more information to marketing agencies.
Some proxies are specifically being operated by covert marketing agencies as free open proxies. Such proxies use algorithms to generate surfing patterns of their users, collect demographics and analyze their daily consumer habits. The data then is further used to spam email addresses of their target audience.
- Web proxies may not protect your actual IP address.
Your original IP address will still be accessible while using transparent proxies. Remember, with networking technology, there is no such phenomenon as full anonymity regardless of the intermediate networking component.
- Malicious software risks
Since anonymous web proxy servers are very easy to setup, many are used by people who steal your information via subjecting you to malicious software that can be easily inserted into the content of the pages you are browsing. Clicking on a link, may use a browser flaw to install a silent keystroke logger on your computer that will further capture every single key stroke on your computer even when you are offline.
Use web proxies with caution. Without using an anonymous web proxy server, the websites you are visiting can simply log your actual IP address for basic visitor statistics. With using proxy servers, the websites you are visiting may find your visits suspicious and utilize device fingerprinting to tag you, trace your actual IP address, and more closely monitor your online activity.