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VPN services and Proxies

VPN services like Relakks, Steganos Anonym VPN, Perfect Privacy, Cyber Ghost VPN, XeroBank VPN, Linkideo ...

JonDonym and Tor may be the best anonymization systems technically, but both share small restrictions from concept that should be considered when using them:

The combination of JonDo with a so-called VPN system (virtual private network) may slightly fix these restrictions: VPN software creates a single, encrypted connection to a certain VPN provider. This one accepts, similar to an access provider, your whole Internet data traffic (also the separately encrypted JonDonym data traffic), and forwards it to the Internet, while all users get the same exit IP address, similar to JonDonym.

Of course, this provider may thereby observe your whole Internet communication. Hence pay attention to choose a reputable VPN provider, in particular with a reputable company address and similar contact persons. If possible, you should also use a VPN software directly integrated in your Internet router instead of executing a VPN program on your own computer. Thereby the provider's software cannot harm your computer. In addition to that, active contents cannot read your real IP address any more. However, please note that active contents may still read a lot of data about your computer and network configuration.

For web surfing, VPN services should not be used.

Nevertheless, protection by the VPN of a professional and reputable host is often better than no protection at all.

Network proxies

Proxy services are particularly famous for this kind of "anonymization on demand", besides the already mentioned services. They are literally "proxy PCs" which switch communication between your PC and the Internet. They relay your data traffic to the target and send the answer back to your PC so that the web site cannot see your IP address.

Unfortunately, proxies have a high susceptibility to misuse and user data theft. At BlackHat 2012 the spain hacker Chema Alonso presented an unsophisticated yet powerful technique for an attack using an anonymous proxy server. Users connecting to the proxy would get their computer poisoned by the attackers script. Once the script was installed the victim’s computer became part of a botnet. The researchers were then able to eavesdrop on the victim’s web traffic, steal browser cookies and form data such as user credentials.

Proxies offer thus, if at all, only weak protection from the website's host but not from third parties. Usage of network proxies is risky.

Web proxies like Anonymouse.org, Hide My Ass!, Guardster, Megaproxy...

In addition to these proxies, there are webproxy services, Internet pages with a form field in which the user can input the target address that he want's to visit anonymously. The webproxy subsequently delivers the content of the requested website and automatically patches all links to use the webproxy when clicked. For using webproxy services the browser configuration does not have to be changed.

Compared to network proxies, they have the disadvantage not to be able to replace each link correctly, in particular on web sites with JavaScript code. This makes it easier that the user IP address gets "leaked" to the web server, which the proxy should acutally prevent. Our anonymity test displays the weakness of some web proxies:

Betreiber HTML/CSS/FTP JavaScript Java
Anonymouse Broken Broken* Broken
Cyberghost Web - Broken Broken
Hide My Ass! - Broken* Broken
WebProxy.ca - Broken Broken
KProxy Broken Broken* Broken
Guardster - Broken (if allowed)* Broken
Megaproxy Broken (not available for free) (not available for free)
Proxify - Broken (if allowed) Broken (if allowed JavaScript)
Ebumna PHProxy Broken Broken* Broken
 Broken  : Your own IP address gets uncovered. Note that your private browser data is uncovered as well...

 *  : The thereby marked service does not even reach the test site if JavaScript is activated. It parses so bad, that the browser just leaves the service silently in some cases...

- : not yet broken

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