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SSL unblocker - best proxy settings for data protection and security

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Most free anonymous free proxy sites offer a series of advanced settings which, to the layman proxy user, probably mean very little. What are proxy settings important for? In fact good anonymity for proxy use depends on you configuring these settings correctly – not only does poor anonymity leave you prone to monitoring and tracking, it will likely also result in your unblocking activity being discovered by the censor and access to the anonymous free proxy shut down. What is worse, you may find yourself using the anonymous surfing browser thinking you have full data protection and security, when in fact you are spilling identifiers and digital footprints everywhere you go. Here is what the most common proxy settings mean, and why you might choose to use them.

What are proxy settings important for?

SSL Encryption

All SSL unblocker sites offer encryption, but very few default to this setting. Generally, you need to activate it. Often a padlock symbol is visible near the URL box, or a checkbox is marked HTTPS, SSL or Encrypt Page. Once enabled, the anonymous surfing browser will then transfer all requested content to you in encrypted form (usually 128 bit SSL). This is vital not only for maintaining data protection and security during the transfer, but also for conducting a successful web filtering bypass around censorship, and for evading internet surveillance.

Encrypt URLs (and Encode)

Sometimes it is not only important that you conceal the content you access through the SSL unblocker, but which sites you are visiting too. Perhaps content filters will look for banned keyphrases like 'Facebook' in the URL string, or maybe the censors will look through internet logs for sign of unblocking activity. This is where the Encrypt URL checkbox comes in. Anyone monitoring your internet activity (ie. the censors themselves) will not see that you are using a proxy to unlock YouTube, for example – as the words YouTube.com will not appear anywhere in the URL string; just some nonsensical symbols. And if they try to follow you through the same URL (using a replay attack), neither will they be brought to YouTube because encrypted URLs are session-based only. Some anonymous free proxy sites instead offer an Encode URL option. This is similar to Encrypt URL except a monitor will be able to see where you visited by entering the same URL string into their own browser, as encoded URLs are not session-based. In either case, however, any monitor will see you visited the proxy site from the stem of the URL (eg. www.idcloakproxy.com...). The only way to avoid this is by subscribing to a much more powerful VPN unblocker which wraps all data (including the URL of the website you are visiting) into encrypted packets and passes through the remote VPN server before any URLs can become visible to third parties (by which point, you are outside the censorship area and anonymized by the crowd effect of sharing that server with other users).

Remove Scripts (aka Remove JavaScripts or Disable Scripts)

Javascripts may be wonderful for providing you with funky, interactive, media-filled content; sadly, they make anonymity for proxy use a hard thing to achieve. Simple free online proxy services such as Cloakfish can use your Javascript transmissions to uncover not only that you are using an SSL proxy, but what your real IP address is too. Although doing so may not interfere with your bypassing censorship, such vagrant loss of anonymity can represent a threat to your data protection and security. And if there are consequences for being seen to use an SSL unblocker to access banned sites from your location, Javascript is your enemy, not friend. So, make sure you disable it where possible. Some sites may not allow you to access them with Javascript disabled, but, if well-designed, they will automatically downgrade to accommodate your requests without any great loss of functionality.

Cookies

Some websites (like Facebook) do not allow you to access its pages unless you enable cookies, as these small bits of data help facilitate site security and user monitoring – both of which are very important for a site's operation. Unfortunately, when these cookies are transferred to your computer through a proxy, they can be exploited both contemporaneously and historically to expose your unblocking activity. Many good proxies offer the option to disable cookie transfer through the proxy server, and if destination sites allow access without them, it is recommended that you turn them off.

Disable objects (aka Remove objects or Disable Flash)

This mysterious checkbox leads many users to search under: What are proxy settings important for? Adobe Flash objects are those embedded videos you see on blogs and social media sites – when activated through a proxy, you increase the chance of both failing to break through censorship, and of having your identity revealed if you do. This is because Flash can communicate outside of your browser as well as through it, while a standard SSL unblocker will only anonymize and encrypt browser-based traffic. For improved data protection and security, ensure Flash anonymity during proxy use by configuring your proxy settings to disable objects. More often than not, in doing so you will not lose out, anyway – as most proxy sites, even with Flash enabled, fail to run Flash-embedded media. Needless to say, however, you will not be able to unlock Youtube with Flash disabled.

Written by: 
Robin Welles; expats team, internet security team