Irregular Traffic Validation Q&A: Proxies and Anonymizers

                Q: What is a proxy?

                A: A proxy is a network device that relays traffic so that the traffic appears to be coming from the proxy and not the original source.


                Q: What is an anonymizer?

                A: An anonymizer is a network device that obscures the source of network traffic, generally by acting as a proxy, with the purpose of hiding the identity of the originator.


                Q: Are there legitimate uses for proxies? 

                A: Absolutely.  Certain environments even require the use of proxies.  They can be used to funnel traffic, and are sometimes used to authenticate activity in and/or out of a network.   For example, our Library makes use of a proxy to properly connect to resources while still validating that the connection is coming from UNH.


                Q: Are there legitimate uses for anonymizers? 

                A: Yes, but those are less technical and more social.   There are environments where the free expression of ideas can by hampered, or even dangerous, without anonymity.    An example might be to use a message board in a country where the discussion of certain topics is restricted.


                Q: How are proxies and anonymizers used illegitimately?

                A: One of the most common uses would be to analyze your network traffic as it passed through the proxy, looking for sensitive data and credentials.    If your web browser somehow was reconfigured to use a nefarious proxy, that proxy could see all of the data that passes through it and could potentially capture usernames/passwords, banking information, etc.


                Q: How can I tell if I am running a proxy or anonymizer?

                A: There are several ways they could be hooked into your computer.  The most common way a legitimate proxy would be present is in the setting for your web browser.  The exact method for reaching those settings vary from browser to browser and change over time, but googling “<browser> proxy settings” will lead you there.   It would also be worthwhile to run an anti-virus /malware scan.


Informational links:

Custom Fields
  • Department: Network Operations
Attached Files
There are no attachments for this article.
Related Articles RSS Feed
How To: Trace Route (MAC OS X)
Viewed 6716 times since Mon, Jul 20, 2015
Wireless in Residence Halls: Be a Good Neighbor
Viewed 4134 times since Fri, Aug 28, 2015
Configuring a Chromecast on the UNH Wireless Network
Viewed 825 times since Tue, Oct 16, 2018
Troubleshooting configuring for UNH-Secure
Viewed 3673 times since Wed, Aug 19, 2015
Network Access For Guests
Viewed 4964 times since Wed, Jul 8, 2015
UNH Wireless Configuration Instructions
Viewed 1085 times since Mon, Oct 1, 2018
How To: Trace Route (Windows)
Viewed 25302 times since Wed, Jul 8, 2015
How To: Nslookup (Mac OS X)
Viewed 85568 times since Mon, Jul 20, 2015
How-To: Route Print (Mac OS X)
Viewed 237524 times since Fri, Jul 24, 2015
How-To: Route Print (Windows)
Viewed 110253 times since Fri, Jul 24, 2015