How to find a free, secure proxy service?

There are several reasons one might want to use web proxy services, and depending on that reason, it might not be a very good idea to choose a free one randomly.

Vienna-based developer Christian Haschek has recently tested 443 free proxies for things like JS modification, static website modification, whether they hide the user’s IP, and whether they allow the use of HTTPS.

Of the total, he found only 199 online, and of these, a whooping 157 (79%) don’t allow HTTPS, 17 (8.5%) modify JavaScript (mostly to inject ads), and 33 (16.6%) modify HTML (also for ad injection, but possibly also to steal cookies). All of them hide the user’s IP address.

“I didn’t expect so many proxies to ban HTTPS traffic. It could be because they want you to use HTTP so they can analyze your traffic and steal your logins,” he pointed out, adding that “the only way to use a free proxy and be somewhat safe is if it’s HTTPS capable and you’re only surfing on HTTPS enforced sites.”

So, how can security-conscious users find such a (free) proxy? As it turns out, quite easily: Haschek has created Proxy Checker, a web service where you only need to enter the IP address and port of the proxy, choose its type, and click on the “Analyze” button.

Technical details about how it actually works can be found in his blog post, and he promised to publish the source code soon.

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