Anonymous proxies are allowing surfers to stray

Bloxx announced the results from its first annual anonymous proxies security survey, revealing that 90% of respondents deem this kind of site to be a problem and 52% of these considered it a serious issue. The sample of over one hundred respondents was drawn from a cross section of business and education IT and network managers.

Anonymous proxies are the most popular and easiest way for users to bypass Internet filtering. Once connected to an anonymous proxy, users can view any site even if the web filter should have blocked it. Proxy sites have proliferated in the past few years due to availability of open source tools, which allow a proxy site to be created quickly and easily.

Many hundreds of anonymous proxy sites are created each week and blocking them using traditional web filters, which rely on anonymous proxy URL lists, is no longer efficient or effective. Consequently, the responsibility often lies with IT managers to identify and block these sites, which allows users to surf freely until the site is blocked. This notion is reiterated in the results from the Bloxx survey unveiling that currently 52% of respondents state that it can take a day or more to identify and block a new site, with 9% stating that it could take a week or more.

Worryingly, according to Bloxx research, the problem of anonymous proxies does not appear to be diminishing, with over half of the respondents perceiving the threat of anonymous proxies to be increasing; 59% stating that the issue has worsened over the past 12 months.

“Anonymous proxies are a huge problem which has grown significantly over the past few years, especially within education,” said Bloxx Managing Director, Eamonn Doyle. “The growing threat they pose to organisations needing to regulate Internet use and the length of time users may be able to view inappropriate content, is implicit from our survey. Relying on a URL database web filter alone to quickly detect and block anonymous proxies would now appear to be problematic and can certainly expose an organisation to a high level of risk.”

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