One of the factors that Internet users value the most is keeping their privacy safe. For this reason, protecting our data and personal information safe from cybercriminals is essential. However, we also want to browse anonymously and that the different organizations and internet providers do not collect information from us. Thus, for this reason, and to avoid geo-blocking, the use of VPNs has grown a lot. However, to achieve these objectives we can use other equally effective alternatives such as the SOCKS5 proxy, which we will discuss in detail below.
Before starting with the main topic, we are going to clarify a couple of concepts that will help us better understand the final concept. Therefore, we are going to define proxy server and SOCKS, so that when we get to the SOCKS5 proxy, we have things clearer.
What is a proxy server
A proxy server can be defined as a server, program or device that acts as an intermediary in requests for resources made by client A to another server C. A typical example is when a machine A makes a request to C. The form to do so is through a request to B that will transfer the request to C, so the latter will not know that the original request came from A. Then, the response will also go through B, which is the proxy and will be offered to the user A, who was the one who made the request.
This is a diagram that shows how a proxy works:
Among the advantages of the proxy server are control, since they can restrict the rights of users. Also the speed, since it can cache and save a response for when another user requests it. Let’s not forget about anonymity, since it allows us to connect anonymously to an external resource without having to reveal our IP.
What is SOCKS
Regarding SOCKS, it is an Internet protocol that will authorize client-server applications to use the services of a network firewall in a transparent way. An example could be users behind a firewall who need to access servers from outside. The solution to use to connect would be to use a SOCKS proxy server.
It should also be noted that this protocol has gone through different versions. In that sense, the latest SOCKS5 supports UDP, allows the SOCKS server to resolve host names for the SOCKS client, and IPv6.
What is SOCKS5 proxy
A SOCKS5 proxy could be defined as a technology that routes our connection through a remote nearby server. It will do so using the SOCKS internet protocol in version 5, which is the latest. The way the SOCKS5 proxy works is by hiding our real IP address, hiding our physical location and preventing third parties from tracking our activities on the Internet.
One important thing to note is that it is not as secure in terms of protection as VPNs. However, the SOCKS5 proxy offers some important benefits and could be an interesting service in many situations.
As for the way in which we could connect to a server of this type, it would be using one of these three methods:
- No authentication. We would not need any identification to use the proxy.
- Identification by username / password. We will have to provide our credentials in order to connect to the proxy.
- GSS-API identification. In this case, both we and the server will use identification tools at the operating system level to verify our identity.
Regarding the way the SOCKS5 proxy works, it will be to redirect our connection through a proxy server that will generate an arbitrary IP before we reach our destination page. To do this, it will use the UDP or TCP protocol. An important consideration is that there is no 100% anonymous and secure SOCKS5 proxy server. However, you can be close, if you take sufficient precautions with the activities you do.
What advantages could you get by using SOCKS5 proxy servers
Regarding the benefits that the use of proxy servers of this type could bring us, we have:
- It allows us to bypass Internet blocks. For example, if our IP is blocked on a platform, by using a different IP we will avoid this blocking.
- Faster and more reliable connections than their predecessors, since SOCKS5 proxies can use the UDP protocol.
- They may allow us to view censored or geo-blocked content.
- Masking our IP makes knowing and stealing our information a more difficult task for cybercriminals.
- Improves anonymity and accidental privacy leaks.
Lastly, using a SOCKS5 proxy can improve our privacy as long as it is private. This is because, when it comes to a free proxy, the product can be us. Thus, it is possible to sell our data or receive personalized advertising.