Keying in a URL on your browser and hitting ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ on your keyboard does two things. It connects you to the web server, enabling you to view the website’s content, and sends your IP address to the web server.
The latter is a cause for privacy concerns, given that an IP address reveals a lot about a user, e.g., the location. With an IP address, it’s very easy for attackers to track and even access your computer network if you don’t have security measures in place.
Thus, enhancing cybersecurity starts with safeguarding your IP address. This is part of the reason why cybersecurity companies choose cybersecurity proxies and push their clients to adopt them.
What is a Proxy?
A proxy/proxy server communicates with a web server on the user’s behalf. It does this by creating a situation whereby the user’s computer connects to the proxy server first, which assigns a new IP address, thereby, in essence, acting as a new device that now communicates with the website.
Benefits of Proxies
Proxy servers deal with the privacy concerns by stopping any direct communication by providing the IP address that the website or web server will ‘see’ upon connection. They also promote security in the following ways.
By masking/hiding your real IP address, proxy servers make it harder for attackers who want to locate your computer and, by extension, the company’s network using the IP address to do so.
- Restricting access to websites and content
Because proxy servers essentially act as a bridge through which web requests and traffic go through before being connected to the website, it follows that the proxy can ideally stop being a bridge. This prevents outgoing traffic from reaching an unauthorized website, i.e., one that has been blacklisted by the admin or one that the proxy considers unsafe.
- Filter Content
Some cybersecurity proxies, e.g., HTTP proxies, filter content. They determine the files that can be stored on a computer or a server. That way, unsafe files or those that have not been authorized cannot be saved.
- Cache Storage
Servers can crash because of a variety of reasons. One such reason is if the software used is not configured to handle a large volume of requests or the hardware cannot handle many requests at once. Moreover, some cyberattacks such as the Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) work by overloading a server.
However, proxy servers deal with this issue by storing the web content on different computers in different parts of the world. In doing so, they distribute traffic preventing server overload. Also, this cache-storage setup increases the connection speed.
Proxy servers host firewalls because they act as the gateway between a company’s network and the internet. Given that no request from the web server can get through to the computers without first going through the proxy servers, firewalls work best when installed on cybersecurity proxies. These firewalls then block unauthorized access and scan files for malware or viruses.
Uses of Proxies
In order to deal with cyberattacks effectively using proxy servers, it is crucial to understand that several types of proxies exist. Each of these types is suitable for a particular purpose. Simply put, not all proxies can be deployed whenever enhanced cybersecurity is the objective.
In fact, not all proxies provide online anonymity. For instance, shared proxies increase the chances of an attack since many users are given the same IP address.
Nonetheless, here is a list of the proxy servers you can use to promote cybersecurity, in addition to a summary of how you can utilize them.
Datacenter proxies are ideal for email monitoring as they can be deployed to scan and discard emails that contain malicious links or attachments. They also do an excellent job of providing the requisite anonymity.
Transparent proxies are intermediaries that do not modify or alter web requests. They are perfect for restricting access to certain websites without making it obvious to the user that their web requests are being routed through a proxy.
Any computer can be configured to make it an HTTP proxy. HTTP proxies filter content by blocking unauthorized files from being saved in the computer or server. Moreover, they block access to websites entirely.
They provide the much-needed online anonymity, although they identify themselves as proxies to web servers.
High Anonymity Proxies
High anonymity proxies provide anonymity and do not identify themselves as proxies when they connect to web servers.
Reverse proxies protect web servers, unlike other types of proxies. They return responses to users’ web requests such that they appear to have originated from the web server itself. Reverse proxies balance/distribute load and traffic by caching data and availing this data without requesting it from the server.
Cybersecurity proxies are beneficial in the fight against cyberattacks, which is why cybersecurity companies choose them.