If you use ESET security or other security products that limit surfing through a Web URL filter, you may find that there are categories such as proxies, anonymizers and redirects. What are these categories and why should you block them?



As the name implies, a proxy is a system that acts as a middleman. There are many Web site proxies that allow you to surf the Web anonymously by visiting the proxy site, entering the URL of another site, and having the proxy site fetch the Web page for you. In essence, you are viewing a Web site within a Web site. This can be used for legal purposes where remaining anonymous is imperative for personal protection (journalists, dissidents, researchers) but it’s also used for illegal activity.



Just like Web proxies, anonymizers are tools that hide or obfuscate Web activities. Web proxies and public VPNs are type of anonymizers. Public VPNs are often used by sports enthusiasts trying to get around geo-fencing but are also used by on-line criminals seeking to hide their activities from law enforcement.



A redirect is a tool that redirects your browser from one site, port or URL to another . URL shorteners are a type of redirect often used for legitimate purposes. URL shortners are a type of redirect, they take long URLs and shorten them to look neat and compact. While this makes social media post links and marketing emails look aesthetically pleasing, they have the unintended consequence of hiding the final destination. Users cannot mouse-hover over the link and determine the final destination. Hackers often use redirects and URL shortners to trick users, obfuscate final destination URLs or simply redirect users across multiple site in order to hide the final destination from security tools and SPAM filters.

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