I was recently at another CRM vendor’s location when I needed access to my personal contact list located on a Salesforce.com CRM. The battery on my PDA died, and this particular network manager blocked access to Salesforce.com, among other sites.
I guess the analogy is similar to bringing a Coke into the office when you work at Pepsi.
My first idea was to use a dial-up connection from their analog fax machine with my laptop.
Then I thought of a Proxy Server
What is a Proxy Server?
A Proxy Server services requests from clients by forwarding requests to other servers. If you are computer “C”, and you want to access server “S” but it is blocked, point your client’s web browser to Proxy Server “P”.
So C -> P -> S
In China, certain websites like BBC and CNN are blocked, and having a known list of proxy servers beforehand would be really helpful if you are planning a trip.
As long as your network connection’s ISP isn’t blocking the Proxy Server, you can get access to those sites. And some get creative by using another standard HTTP port 80. Ports 8080 or 8081 are the most common, so you would enter proxyserver.com:8080 for the URL.
Circumventor Proxy servers
So going back to the original situation, when “censorship” blocks access to certain sites, and you succeed by getting around it by a Proxy server, this is an example of a Circumventor.
A Circumventor is a Proxy servers used for defeating blocking policies implemented by an organization or country.
Anonymizing Proxy server
On the other hand, if I was an employee and wanted to check out my competition without them tracking my IP address, then this is an example of an Anonymizing proxy server.
An Anonymizing Proxy server is the correct term for the purpose of anonymity. If you want to surf your competitors from your office, and don’t want them to track your IP address, the anonymizing proxy server is another way instead of using your AOL dialup account.
Reverse Proxy Server?
The reverse holds true with a reverse proxy server. Your corporate firewall may have a proxy server where everyone’s internal computer points to a central proxy server, and that server goes out and services requests.
- Pros: it does speed up surfing for users, as it caches web site information and images from previously searched sites. It would also reduce the traffic, as the information is already stored and no need to go the destination site again. As well, the proxy server adds an additional level of security next to your corporate firewall.
- Cons: your company can track every site you surf, and how long you stay on that particular site. Not good if you spend all day checking your hockey pool stats, or surfing questionable sites.
Caution should be taken as Open Proxies are usually abused for sending spam or even hacking into your own machine. You have no idea what is on the server, including keystroke trackers to capture your keyboard input. So the next time you enter your user ID and password on one of these open proxies, think again.
I hope this sheds some light on ways to get around censorship.