It seems that Internet blocks in Turkey are a constant and have not ceased to stop following the failed coup of July 2016. Reports on 8th October 2016 have surfaced that Turkey blocked Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. In this article we are not going to discuss the reasons behind this new Internet block, but we are going to show the difference between VPN and private proxy servers and how and when to use them.
WHAT ARE VPNs AND PRIVATE PROXY SERVERS
As you probably know, VPNs, virtual private networks, and private proxies are anonymity tools used to hide the real location and identity of an Internet user.
They have been used before by Internet freedom fighters from around the world. Even in the research and communication stage of ICIJ for the Panama Papers, VPNs have played a crucial role is protecting journalists and investigators living in oppressive countries.
Some of the most restrictive countries for journalists are Turkey, Russia, China and even Brazil. But in present day, even for those governments, it is becoming tougher to block information. They might block certain websites, but they can not block information.
Thanks to VPNs, private proxies or any other anonymity tools available, journalists, investigators and even businesses can continue to use the Internet freely in these countries.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VPNs AND PRIVATE PROXIES
Both of these tools provide anonymity, but they are doing it in a slightly different manner.
The main difference is that VPNs encrypt and divert all your Internet traffic through the VPNs server. Through a VPN, your ISP or the government cannot monitor your traffic. They can only see that you connected to a VPN network. That’s all!
On the other hand, private proxies, in this case SSL encrypted private proxies will connect and divert the traffic coming from only one Internet app. Thus, most of your Internet traffic will go as usual, but only the application connected to the proxy server will divert its traffic through it.
For example, if you connect your Mozilla Firefox through a private proxy server, only the tabs opened through Firefox are encrypted through the SSL private proxy and will look as if you have connected to only one Internet address. This way, through Firefox you will be able to connect to restricted websites.
If at the same time, you are using Google Chrome without proxies, your ISP will be able to monitor and sniff your Google Chrome traffic and will be able to block restricted websites.
WHEN TO USE A VPN
Because of the way they provide anonymity, sometimes is better to use VPNs and sometimes private proxies.
A VPN is recommended for large organizations or businesses where there are more than one PC connected to the Internet. Not only a VPNs will encrypt your system’s traffic, but will also provide on-line anonymity for your organization.
The risk associated with a VPN is that your ISP and Government even if they can not see your traffic, they know that you have connected to a VPN. And, from repressive Governments, you risk getting raided, either your business location or the VPNs servers. As it happened with the VPN servers seized in the Netherlands.
WHEN TO USE A PRIVATE PROXY SERVER
Private proxy servers are best used by single PC owners who want to stay anonymous. They can become fully anonymous by displaying a normal Internet user behavior and letting some of their traffic be visible to their ISP and Government.
As mentioned, private proxies servers will encrypt and divert the data coming only from your chosen Internet App. As mentioned above, you can divert the traffic of only one Internet Browser.
Anybody analyzing your traffic will see that you have connected to a remote IP, which could be an website or any other Internet service. But because your other Internet apps, as other browsers, email or FTP services connect through your usual IP, your proxy diverted traffic will pass unnoticed.
One of the main disadvantages of private proxy servers is that you could mistaken a non-SSL proxy with an SSL encrypted one and, by mistake, will not encrypt your traffic. Making it easy for anybody to monitor your traffic and disclose your location or even steal sensitive data.
Another, more human disadvantage is to simply forget to connect to your private proxy server and start using sensitive websites with your home IP.
Both VPNs and private proxy servers offer you anonymity. But they differ on the way they deliver it.
A VPN will encrypt your system and all your Internet traffic, making it almost impossible for somebody to monitor your traffic and find your location. But at the same time, somebody using a VPN can become suspicious by simply displaying the connection to the VPN server.
A private proxy server with SSL encryption will encrypt and divert the traffic of your chosen web app. If your are using two browsers, in order to stay fully anonymous, you can connect one to the proxy server and the other leave it connected through your IP, in this way the proxy server traffic will pass unnoticed, as you have your normal IP traffic as a bait for anybody monitoring your Internet traffic.