What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work?

What is a Proxy Server and How Does it Work?

What is a proxy server, and how does it work? Proxy servers are a great way to overcome security issues. The fundamentals and principles of the internet have always been important for people. They want to eradicate different security breaches and concerns that come with browsing various web pages.

One of the best ways to overcome security issues is to use a proxy. Most organizations and individuals use proxies, but what is a proxy?

What is a Proxy Server?

Proxy is a server between the user and the internet; it helps transfer information from one end to another. Other functionalities of a proxy include:

  • A proxy server filters the client’s request into a more refined version, which helps the end-user get fast speed and a secured connection free from third-party attacks.
  • A proxy can also be used to provide a masking effect for your IP so that you can access information without revealing your computer’s IP address. So, proxies are used by different individuals to get information and access blocked web pages.

As a user, your request will go to the proxy, and then the proxy will access the internet and return relevant information. But why should you use a proxy?

The answer to this question is that a proxy acts as a protective layer that protects your server from malfunctioning and masks the IP address, which is impossible when directly accessing the internet. This proxy functionality helps protect data and the browsing history pattern, a crucial asset for an organisation.

In addition, the proxy works as a firewall rather than only forwarding the end-user’s request. Proxy helps to give a shared network connection which helps to speed up the request. A proxy helps to secure a network by overcoming the threats in the internet world.

There are different kinds of proxies that have other purposes, which will be discussed ahead. But, the question arises, how does a proxy operate?

How Does a Proxy Operate?

Every device, whether a computer or a mobile, works with the help of an IP address. The router within your organization and home also consists of an IP address. An IP address works similarly to a physical address.

Anyone can reach their destination with the help of a physical address, similarly. But, the proxy has its IP address which helps to mask the end-user’s IP address. In this way, the user’s request goes to the proxy, and the proxy forwards the request to the internet.

The information is sent from the internet to the proxy, and the proxy sends the information on the user’s end, which is how a proxy works. However, the proxy can alter malware from the data for a secure browsing experience. Proxy servers can also block different pages for security protocols.

Proxies are differentiated as forwarding proxies and backward proxies.

What is a Forward Proxy?

A forward proxy lies between the user and the external network. Then the forward proxy evaluates the outbound request and then sends that request to an external resource.

Mostly forward proxy is being used, and some common forward proxies are web content filters and virtual private networks.

What are Reverse Proxies?

The reverse proxy lies between different resources and a network. This proxy is used to balance the load within a website that comes from the client. It is used because a large website consists of multiple servers that may receive various requests from a single domain.

To handle all these requests, the proxy comes in place and retrieves the user with information. Common examples of reverse proxy include squid and varnish.

Why Should You Use a Proxy Server?

There are tremendous reasons behind organizations and individuals using a proxy. Check out the top 5 reasons to use a proxy!

Limiting internet resources

One of the best uses of a proxy is to limit internet resources. Many organizations use proxies to block different websites which are not relevant to the organization.

This helps the organisation to track their employees and determine the amount of cyberloafing being carried out. Yes, the organization has access to all browsing activities with the help of a proxy, so stay cautious.

Parents can also use a proxy to limit their child’s activities on the internet. They can block sites that may affect the mental and physical state of children.

Saves bandwidth & improves browsing speed!

Organisations use proxies to improve network connection and speed. A proxy server creates a duplicate server, and when the user enters a URL, the proxy will retrieve the website which exists in the proxy server.

In this way, the user will get quick access to the information and save up on bandwidth. In this way, the network performance will be enhanced.

Privacy benefits

Proxies are used to enhance the privacy of an individual and an organization. A proxy masks the IP address so that the destination network can not catch the IP address. Thus, a proxy will maintain privacy and filter any malware.

As a proxy protects from external threats, organizations use them to secure their data.

Get access to block resources

As a proxy helps to mask an IP address, it also helps to unblock resources. Most websites may block access to irrelevant users; however, you can access anything on the internet by using a proxy. These restrictions might be a part of the government’s policy or privacy issues.

Improves security

Usually, browsing on different websites can accumulate cookies, and some cookies may cause malware. The best way to avoid it is with the help of a proxy.

A proxy acts like a web filter that will remove any malicious cookie or link while processing information for the user.

Proxy Server Risks

Yes, a proxy has tons of benefits, but on the other hand, there are some risks of using a proxy. Now, let’s have a look at the proxy risks.

Using a free proxy

We all know that paid services are long-lasting and have better results than free services. Similarly, it also applies to a proxy. Yes, using free proxies can be risky because these services will lack the potential to secure your data.

A free proxy refers to a proxy that isn’t spending much on encryption, which is the core functionality. So, it’s better to spend some bucks instead of being in delusion.

Browse history logs

One of the main reasons for choosing a paid proxy is to ensure security. However, a free proxy would be storing information locally, which can be accessed by anyone.

It means that if you are expecting privacy from a proxy, then a free one would not help at any cost. The best way is to check and evaluate the policies of the proxy.

No encryption

A useful proxy can encrypt data so that third-party attacks are minimized. However, using a proxy without encryption focuses on sending requests without any security.

Anyone can access your account details, data, and passwords if the proxy does not encrypt the data. Hence, it is a severe risk.

To choose a perfect server for your needs, have a look at the types of proxy servers.

Types of Proxy Servers

Each proxy works differently, so it is necessary to understand the functionality of each proxy to determine the best fit.

Transparent proxy

A transparent proxy is used by libraries, hospitals, and public places to grant access along with the actual IP address. This proxy will help to filter content and filter any irrelevant information. It also claims to be a proxy.

Anonymous Proxy

The anonymous proxy sneaks into a website anonymously and will mask your IP address to leave no traces behind. An anonymous proxy can be used to secure browsing habits, and it helps to avoid targeting tactics. For example, shopping on Amazon can target your location, but browsing anonymously will not track your location.

It will also help you use blocked websites, so it is a good choice for organizations who want to get data access.

Distorting proxy

A distorting proxy works to hide its identity while showing another IP address and accessing the website. However, this proxy is helpful in overcoming region restrictions that are observed on different websites. The false IP shows you in a different location.

High-anonymity proxy

A high-anonymity proxy tends to be the best proxy because it does not seem to be a proxy. Another great feature is that it is highly anonymous, and no one can determine and trace the location.

These are also classified as elite-level proxies because of the level of functionalities they offer to the user. It is a fully encrypted proxy used for email scraping, data extraction, and securing data. An example of a high-anonymity proxy is “TOR networks.”

The high anonymity proxy is the most secure way to browse and access different websites. Proxy servers are trending these days because of the controversial discussion between neutrality and censorship.

Internet service providers (ISPs) should deal with all network connections similarly, which means they should charge similar rates under neutrality. However, by removing these conditions from the United States, all the service providers are dealing with bandwidth and connectivity better. The service providers can restrict and open sites. However, the proxy servers can work through these restrictions.

Moreover, the proxy can be a great way to overcome security threats and security breaches. In addition, proxy data also gives data insights to analyze and evaluate the data better and determine any malicious behaviour. It will also help to through alerts in case of any suspect along with dealing with these issues.

Let’s take an example if a user wants to access GDPR. Then the user uploads the data on a different website; this will be called an exfiltration attempt and will be termed a security breach. To prevent these circumstances, a proxy is required, along with file system monitoring. Without a proxy, you may face security breaches which can be a great threat to the organization.

Now, you know what a proxy is and how does it work. So, start using a proxy whether you are an individual or an organization and experience incredible bandwidth, speed, and secure browsing.

The Rising Threat of Emotet - Malware Hack

Who does Emotet target?

Much like a non-cyber virus, Emotet doesn’t discriminate. To date, it has targeted individuals, companies, banks, universities, hospitals, courts, and government entities across the world.

In the early days, it mainly targeted companies and organisations, but as time has gone on it has targeted more and more private individuals.

Both Microsoft and Apple devices are vulnerable to an Emotet attack. Basically, any device that has access to email.

How can I protect myself from Emotet?

Simply knowing about Emotet is perhaps your best line of defence against it. Be wary of any email that appears slightly suspicious, especially if those emails contain links or attachments. Emotet can’t get a foothold on your system as long as you avoid the content of those suspect emails.

You should also aim to keep your devices updated with the latest patches, be it for Microsoft Windows or Apple. Emotet largely relies on the Windows EternalBlue vulnerability to do its dirty work, so regularly patching that vulnerability will make it more difficult for the malware to get through.

Use strong passwords. Emotet’s password guessing trick works by trawling through lists of common and obvious passwords, such as ‘password123’. If your password is too obvious, there is a very high chance that Emotet will find its way into your account, so create a password with character-variety that is unique. It’s also a good idea to start using two-factor authentication.

Get some high-quality, multi-layered antivirus. The best products are constantly updated and are able to detect and block Emotet in real-time.

How can I remove Emotet?

If you know or suspect you’ve already been infected by Emotet, don’t panic. There are a couple of things you can do right now which should stop Emotet in its tracks before it does too much damage.

Firstly, if your computer is connected to a network, you will need to isolate it immediately. Then you can proceed to patch and clean your system, which should get rid of the Emotet malware. But here’s the rub: your computer can become reinfected the moment it is plugged into an infected network. That means you’ll need to clean and patch each computer on your network one at a time.

As you can imagine, this can be a very tedious and time-consuming process. There is a far easier way, and that is to get in touch with the experts.

At Liberate IT, we have the resources and knowledge to rescue you from an Emotet infection. We can also implement measures to prevent you or your business from being subject to Emotet in the future. With the threat continuously rising at the moment, the importance of these measures cannot be overstated.

If you have any questions or are interested in getting the best possible protection against Emotet, get in touch today – we’re happy to help!

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