From the latin word "proximus" which means "close".
A remote tool that provides anonymity and security. It is a type client-server relationship but with one server acting as an intermediary. On the Internet or a network, communications appear to come from one source, allowing a degree of anonymity. The proxy also safeguards its client from attacks, the server becoming the "fall guy" in case of a problem. Proxys are not perfect forms of security but only an extra step.
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Proxies can allow a single Internet connection to be routed to multiple computers on a local area network.
- Odd Networks
- Although rare, proxies can also be necessary on some networks that are not equipped to handle normal TCP/IP communications.
- Traffic filtering
- Proxies can also circumvent censorship and Internet filters and may be used against governments which restrict freedom of speech. See distributed proxy.
- As the proxy itself is often targeted in the case of an Internet-borne attack, are traditionally more difficult to attack if the proxy itself is made to be secure. The can also employ tools such as a firewall and other countermeasures.
- By removing excess elements such as cookies, banner ads, etc. and by sharing a cache of information, proxies can be much faster than an Internet connection alone.
- Some programs cannot connect to the Internet via a proxy. Still, most basic Internet tools such as Web browsers and chat clients are compatible.
- Can also allow your connection and access to be monitored by the owner or administrator of the proxy as all connections go through one source. In the case of direct connections to the Internet or across switched networks, this may not always be easy or possible.
<code> User ----> Proxy ----> Internet </code>
There are two vulnerabilities to an encrypted proxy:
- If the line between the User and Proxy are monitored, it could be vulnerable to traffic analysis.
- If the Proxy is known to have only one User, it's activity can safely be considered the User's activity.
If enough clients are connecting with a proxy at one time or random traffic information is used, traffic analysis can be lost in the crowd as the Proxy is continually requesting and receiving all different types of information.