Category: privacy

Using Rotating Residential Proxies Online

Finding a proxy or two online isn’t very hard, there’s always a few new ones being left open somewhere. Perhaps from an inexperienced administrator who’s accidentally left his server open to the world or someone who’s not configured their firewall properly. It’s actually much more easily done than you’d imagine, often web enabled applications install or enable proxy services with little warning. Before you realise then thousands of strangers are piggybacking your server and bandwidth without your permission. Of course, this scenario is even more likely with the prevalence of ‘always on’ internet connections in millions of homes across the world. Lots of malware is configured to install things like Glype proxies or FTP servers for attackers to use without their owners knowledge too.

Rotating Residential Proxies
Despite this, the reliability and of course the safety of using these servers is obviously not great. Using someones misconfigured or worse hacked server is never a wise move even if you accept the fact that you’ll be sharing it with thousands of others. Yet the demand for proxies for a variety of reasons is growing all the time.

So why do people need loads of proxies? After all you can only use one at the time when you’re browsing the web or watching something online. Well there are actually lots of reasons, people use all sorts of automated software which harvest and analyse data, post adverts on multiple sites, or even bots which are used to buy products online.

Internet marketers for instance use all sorts of software to promote their products by automatically posting on social media, creating links on websites publishing adverts on commercial sites. Other people use bots (automated robots) to make multiple applications for online goods like sneakers and concert tickets for reselling. There are literally hundreds of applications which require access to multiple identities to work properly and they need proxies and lots of them.

Let’s take one example, there’s a whole host of online tools which allow people to buy lots of the latest sneakers online. These work by making repeated applications and requests to the web servers until they are successful, unfortunately if all these applications come from the same IP address then they get blocked very quickly. In order to work these ‘bots’ need lots of residential IP addresses to work, they’re commonly described as sneaker proxies but all they are is proxy servers which have access to lots of these home registered addresses. Each one of these residential addresses however is expensive and if they are overloaded become worthless as they end up being blocked by the websites themselves.

There is a solution developed by the specialist residential IP providers who operate in this space, who’ve developed systems that give access to hundred of residential proxies and addresses.

Rotating Residential Proxies

The problem is two fold, the IP addresses that are needed are classified as residential ones which in turn are extremely difficult to obtain unless you own an ISP. These applications also need lots of these addresses to run properly because each individual connection needs to be made from a different IP address. Having dedicated access to hundreds of residential IP addresses would cost a fortune every month so a systems has been developed which allows these addresses to be shared effectively.

They are known as backconnect residential proxies and they are in effect a single proxy gateway which gives access to a whole network of individual proxies with different configurations. The backconnect proxy operates usually under a single gateway IP address yet rotates it’s external calls through randomly selecting individual residential based proxy servers. The gateway will automatically rotate through these addresses every few minutes so that no single address is ever the same or over utilized. This is essential because if too many requests come through a single address then this will be flagged by the destination websites and they’re likely to be blocked. This makes them worthless for that particular site until the block is lifted.

This setup means that all you need to do is configure your application to point at a single gateway IP address and the backconnect proxy will then rotate through individual proxies automatically, making them virtually indistinguishable from normal home users. They can be used to automate all sorts of tasks from applying for concert tickets, to posting hundreds of adverts on localised portals like Craigslist or Gumtree. Without using software and residential proxies then posting more than a single time would be pretty much impossible.

Each individual connection therefore looks like it comes from a completely different location and machine.  Each of these proxies not only has a different residential IP address but a completely different footprint too supplying varying metadata like OS, browser types etc to complete the deception.

The other main advantage though is that it significantly brings down the cost.  Because each server is only used for a couple of minutes by each backconnect proxy before being rotated, that means that they can be shared around users and applications much more effectively.  Paying for dedicated access to thousands of residential proxies would cost a fortune and would simply not pay.

Using this method,  for a few dollars you can have automated software running through this network of residential proxies almost twenty four hours a day. This  means that it’s much more affordable for all sorts of online entrepreneurs.   remember some of the applications only cost a few hundred dollars and can earn people a substantial online income.  We’ve mentioned the ‘sneaker bots’ above, the applications which automate buying designer and limited availability sneakers – many individuals earn a six figure income from running these Bots and reselling the sneakers on places like eBay and Amazon.

So if you’re looking to expand your online empire, or need to run automated software which requires multiple residential IP addresses then you’re best bet is using rotating residential proxies.   This is a very specialised market and they’re only a few companies who maintain and run such a network, here’s our recommendation.

The fastest, safest and best rotating residential proxies come from a company called Storm.

Storm

Check out their backconnect residential proxy trial which you can test for 48 hours and get your money refunded if they don’t work for you.

Digital Clue Leads to Drug Dealers Arrest

In the famous Sherlock Holmes novel  – ” A Study in Scarlet”, one of the clues that helps Holmes solve the mystery was identifying some cigarette ash left at the scene of the crime.   Indeed he actually informs Watson in the same book that he has written a monograph of cigarette ash.    The incriminating ash belonged to something called a Trichinopoly cigar from Tiruchirappalli in India. However in today’s world I suspect Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t need to bother with such detailed research as criminals seem to spend a lot of their time posting them up on social media.

Take for example the recent case in South Wales, where a large drugs gang where caught primarily not because they were smoking Indian cheroots, but because of the incriminating evidence they placed online themselves.  It sounds stupid, but it’s true – here’s the photo which led to the arrest of the gang.

The photo was posted to a WhatsApp group, and before you start worrying about the police monitoring all these groups – it turns out it was actually retrieved from the mobile phone itself.  This criminal mastermind had taken a photo, of his drugs for sale posted it to  a WhatsApp group and then failed to delete or remove the photo from his phone.

It was subsequently seized by the police in a later unrelated arrest and passed on to the police forensics team.  They discovered lots of drug related deals and messages, plus crucially this photo which was to lead to the arrest of other members of the gang.

From the picture, the police analysed the partial fingerprint which was enough to match to another known suspect.  From this the police were able to trace other members including bitcoin deposits of over £20,000 in several dealers accounts.  I suspect if Sherlock Holmes were involved he’d probably have solved the whole lot using a fast broadband connection in Baker Street!

It illustrates several things, including perhaps the IQ levels of some South Wales based criminals!  One of the points worth remembering for those who do value their privacy is that although messaging applications like WhatsApp offer end to end encryption, that’s not the whole issue.   There are lots of ways to hide the transmission including the applications security plus layering on encryption using a VPN with a residential IP.  However secure a messaging system is regarding transit and delivery, it’s normally very difficult to apply that security to the end devices.  If anyone has access to the device that was used to send or receive the message, whether it’s phone, tablet or PC, then it’s usually fairly simple to access it.

Of course, the ground breaking element of this case is using a partial photograph to provide fingerprint evidence.    It would seem that there’s huge potential here to identify and solve all sorts of crimes using social media images and related records.  How many incriminating images are posted on Facebook and Instagram daily  for example, I’m certain plenty if you knew where to look.

 

 

Residential IP Provider

We talk a lot about proxies in this blog, how to use them to stay secure, protecting our anonymity and really important stuff like being able to watch the BBC on our holidays.    In truth, as far as watching online media sites go proxies are very little use anymore because they’re very easy to detect.   If you want to watch a multimedia site online then you’re normally going to need a VPN as they are much more difficult to detect.

There is another side of the blocking war technology, which doesn’t involve the type of server you’re connecting to but rather the IP address it is assigned.  You see there’s another crucial distinction as far as the network address you use on these servers – commercial or residential.  Virtually all IP addresses that the ordinary individual can get access to falls under these two categories.   So it’s worth just briefly clarifying what we mean by these:

  • Commercial IP Addresses – these are assigned to public and private companies and commercial datacentres.  Indeed 99% of proxy and VPN services are hosted in commercial datacentres which is why they’re allocated commercial addresses.
  • Residential IP Addresses – if you simply connect to the internet through your ISP like most people, then you’ll have a residential address.  These are only allocated to home users via their normal internet connections whether they’re broadband, cable or even dial up.

It seems a minor difference, after all they’re both just standard IP addresses but the distinction is becoming more crucial.   In 2016 Netflix became the first ‘media giant’ to restrict access to their content based on the classification of your IP address.  It’s been used before in smaller organisations and in other sectors but this was a major shift in region locking.  If you sat on a company network and wanted to watch Netflix using your computer you’d be blocked, didn’t even matter if you owned the company!

After years of trying to enforce Netflix users to stick to the locale they were based in, they finally decided that only those who originated from a residential IP provider would have access.  This worked big time, indeed compared to the years of blocking proxies, checking for concurrent connections and trying to detect VPNs it was incredibly effective.  The reason was simple all the circumvention tools like proxies and VPNs had one thing in common, they all had commercial IP addresses assigned from the datacentres where there servers sat.

People Suddenly Need a Residential IP Provider

There was some collateral damage, but basically it made Netflix only accessible from home connections.  More importantly users could not use VPNs and proxies to switch to a better version of Netflix, the US version has more than double the content of many regions.

In fact what Netflix was doing wasn’t that original, in other areas commercial websites have been using this classification for years. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of programming can use incoming IP address information to determine both the region and classification of the IP address. Using the classification is an easy way to ensure all the inbound connections are from legitimate residential users.  They can also determine specific countries and regions from the IP address to – all crucial information if you’re running any sort of e-commerce site too!

Most online resources and commercial sites are directed at home based customers which is why having a residential IP address is crucial, residential traffic has certain characteristics.  Normally that’s fine but there are also many situations where you need more than one address and that’s extremely difficult to do.  For example people involved in online marketing or research need the ability to process numerous requests from social media sites, advertisers, search engines and even online retailers.  Unfortunately if you try and do this from a single solitary internet connection and address you’ll get blocked pretty quickly.

residential IP provider

Whether it’s the classification, origin or more likely the fact it’s being used for repeated requests – it’s pretty simple to get blocked by a web site nowadays.

People who use marketing and research tools will get blocked very quickly for example as the multiple requests are logged. Even posting stuff to social media using applications can have this effect very quickly too.

Others use tools in order to buy multiple copies of items or place lots of adverts. Again if you are stuck using your single default, residential IP address you’ll get an IP ban very quickly.  the more requests you or the application makes then the quicker it will happen.   Even something like a residential VPN won’t help because although the actual connection is encrypted, the mere fact that multiple concurrent connections are established from the same IP is easy to detect.

For example there are lots of people who use software to buy multiple items in order to sell them later.  There are computer programs designed to do this for you, making multiple requests and placing lots of items in shopping baskets automatically.

They are usually found in sectors which have limited or restricted availability like designer trainers/sneakers, concert and sporting tickets and similar items.  When items like these are sold online then the restrictions are normally enforced by the classification and location of the IP address.

Let’s consider buying concerts for a very popular rock band, the tickets always sell out extremely quickly.  How do you ensure that people don’t buy extra tickets to sell online at inflated prices?  Well imagine you’re sitting there looking at the requests come in for a Dallas based concert and you see hundreds of requests from IP addresses originating from New Delhi? These obviously don’t look like legitimate requests from fans and the website will almost certainly block or restrict access from these addresses.

There is a workaround method that can be used and is implemented very profitably by people online – they hide their locations by using home based IP addresses originating in ‘non-suspicious’ locations.  However to do this you need to buy residential IPs which are bought from a residential IP provider.  These are normally bought by buying access to dedicated residential proxies which have home based addresses assigned to them.

Some of these networks are extensive and extremely sophisticated indeed they need to be to fool the websites involved.  The most advanced are called residential backconnect proxies, which are much more than simply standard static residential proxies.   They are networks consisting of thousands of residential IP addresses all linked together through single backconnect proxy gateways.  These are much more difficult to detect as they offer the ability to rotate IP addresses automatically and also the referrer data that is sent from individual connections.   Any sort of automated bot which buys, researches or posts will need access to rotating residential proxies in order to function with any volume.

These networks are of course extremely difficult and expensive to set up, primarily because getting access to residential IP addresses is very difficult.  Many have taken years to set up, it’s not that hard to learn how to make residential proxies but it’s much,much harder to set one up!  It’s worth remembering this before you go searching to buy residential proxies, they are much more expensive to run than normal one.  Which is why the people running automated tools like ‘sneaker bots’ or ‘ticket bots’ are always searching for reliable sources, you’ll even see them referred to as residential sneaker proxies as they’re often used with these bots to buy lots of sneakers from large online retailers like Nike, Adidas and Footlocker.

There’s only two or there of these with large enough residential networks to make most of these bots and tools work properly.  Here’s one of the oldest and most respected networks – they’re called Storm Proxies.   They’re unique in that they’re the only ones who actually own the hardware and addresses (the registrations) unlike their competitors.  Indeed many of the other providers have little direct control over their residential IP address inventory, e.g. Illuminati who’s network consists of piggybacking off the connections of a free VPN called Hola.

It’s definitely the fastest, safest and best residential IP provider and you can try out their proxies here

Storm

Check out their residential proxy trial which you can test for 48 hours and get your money refunded if they don’t work for you.

Surf with UK IP Address

When you’re online you might think that your digital identity doesn’t change very much, but in some aspects you’d be very wrong.  For example take something as simple as browsing the internet, your experience will vary greatly depending on one specific factor – your location.   Now the internet doesn’t care where you’re from but many of the web sites you visit do care – very much indeed.

Surf with UK IP Address

The method of identifying your location is done by tracing your IP address, this is the unique number which is allocated to any device when it connects to the internet.  This includes everything, every laptop, computer, switch , mobile phone and even your smart TV – all are allocated this network address.   As well as being unique, these addresses are also allocated on a per country basis meaning that when a web site knows the address it can look up your physical location too.

They will use this information in a variety of ways, to customize what you see, switch languages or more often to filter and block what you can see.  It’s the exact method that Netflix uses to determine which version of the site you use, or the way that BBC iPlayer blocks every non-UK connection.  So you can see where you are determines greatly what you can access and your overall web experience.

However there is a method to take control of this, and actually bypass these filters and blocks.

How to Surf with UK IP Address

So how do you take control?  Do we have to just sit back idly by while our web browsing is censored and manipulated by the big websites?  Of course, the key is being able to control this network address,  if we can manipulate this then we can decide what we can see online.

If we take an example mentioned above, the BBC blocks access to anyone who tries to access from outside the UK.  More specifically they block access to anyone without a UK IP address.   So if we can present a UK IP address irrespective of our real location then we can watch the BBC or any other UK only website wherever we happen to be.

It’s actually very easy to do, to supply a fake IP then just watch this video:

So although you can’t actually change your IP address, as it’s allocated automatically when you connect to the internet. You can though hide your IP address, by using an intermediate server to connect to the web. This is what literally millions of people do across the world, they use a VPN service with servers based in the country they need most.  So many people who need to surf with UK IP address will find a service which provides access to a UK IP address range.

In fact, most of the decent VPN services will offer a wide range of servers in different countries.  The one in the example – Identity Cloaker for instance has many servers in Britain including some which have a London IP address or ones from Manchester, but they also have servers all over the world.   You can merely click on a country and you’ll effectively change your IP address to that country.  So although you don’t actually change IP address to UK or another country, the websites will only see the address of the VPN server.

There are now a lot of these services available but you have to be careful depending on your requirements.  Don’t get misled by websites who offer the best UK proxy as these don’t work anymore for most of the big media sites including all the main UK TV sites.  It was at the beginning of 2017 that the BBC finally started to block access to all proxies, and even some VPNs –  irrespective if they came from a UK IP address list.   Furthermore if you just want to access these sites, you don’t need to invest in anything expensive, certainly it’s not necessary to but a UK IP address that it dedicated for your use only.

A simple, fast and well configured VPN service is all the majority of people require to surf with UK IP address or unlock access to lot’s of other different sites across the world.  The benefit also extends to countries where state level internet censorship takes place like China or Turkey, a VPN will bypass these too.

Here’s the link for Identity Cloaker – Test it out with the 10 day . first to see how well it works.

Hey Look, That’s Suspicious. Hide IP all Internet Traffic

One very important aspect of privacy that is usually overlooked is that of discretion.  If you want to remain private, then it’s important not to stand out – in IT circles it’s often called security by obscurity.   I remember once having to investigate unauthorized use of a database system by an employee.   The scenario was that this particular application could be used to look up all sorts of personal details about people however this was strictly  forbidden.

When I started to investigate, it took about 2 minutes from looking at the logs to identifying the culprit.  The logs were huge, but all access was identified by the user access name in one column.  The usernames were all in a long format like this –  user/2347643-1964 all except one whose username was Bob21 (slightly changed to protect the stupid), and it stood out a mile.  The user had created his own account and used it to look up details of a love rival, but had failed to keep to the same username format as everyone else.   It yelled – check me out, very loudly indeed – he was discovered and subsequently lost his job.

hide vpn traffic

The point is that it’s all very well having a super secure and encrypted connection, however if this is too obvious you run the risk of making yourself a target and inviting investigation.  This is particularly relevant in using a proxy or VPN or proxy to hide yourself online.  Sure they work and a properly configured VPN over port 80 does keep you very secure, however if anyone looks at the logs the VPN user can stand out.

The reason is that in standard ISP logs a normal web user will have a variety of internet requests to all sorts of different web servers and IP addresses.  The VPN user will have all those hidden and will interact with the single IP address of the VPN server.  This stands out, the same IP addresses being connected almost permanently and no requests made to anywhere else.  The IP address is either a fascinating web site or more likely a proxy or VPN – it’s also simple to search and filter for this sort of behaviour.

Fortunately it is possible to hide VPN traffic by using certain highly secure VPN services which can be made almost invisible too with a few carefully configured options.   Here’s an example of those settings that you can configure in Identity Cloaker.

Basically you need to ensure that you rotate the IP address you access periodically – so that a variety of addresses appear. This suggest normal web browsing rather than a single encrypted connection which can help to hide openvpn traffic too. Other options are to allow the cloaking of different applications, so that some requests go direct to the site whilst others are redirected through the VPN tunnel.

After all if you’re streaming video from a recognised site, do you need encryption? Is it a secret?  You might already run openvpn over https too, and by making this sort of behaviour accessible and readable you control what aspects of your online activity is private and which isn’t.   These are simple tricks but extremely useful if you’re serious about tying to hide VPN traffic properly.

It’s not that difficult if you have these options in your VPN service to melt back into the crowd. However it makes a huge difference to the level of privacy you enjoy. A little obscurity is an essential element in keeping yourself safe online, any security adviser knows all too well that you should avoid making yourself into a target.