Senate Closes Accidental Anonymizer

    Date11 Dec 2002
    CategoryGovernment
    2842
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Never let it be said that the United States Senate has done nothing for Internet privacy. Network administrators for the U.S. government site www.senate.gov shut down an open proxy server over the weekend that for months had turned the site into a free Web anonymizer that could have allowed savvy surfers to launder their Internet connections so that efforts to trace them would lead to Capitol Hill. . . . Never let it be said that the United States Senate has done nothing for Internet privacy. Network administrators for the U.S. government site www.senate.gov shut down an open proxy server over the weekend that for months had turned the site into a free Web anonymizer that could have allowed savvy surfers to launder their Internet connections so that efforts to trace them would lead to Capitol Hill.

    A proxy server is normally a dedicated machine that sits between a private network and the outside world, passing internal users' Web requests out to the Internet. But they're sometimes misconfigured to accept and forward connections from the outside as well, allowing anyone on the Internet to route through the proxy with a simple browser configuration change.

    Because server logs at destination sites show only the IP address of the proxy server, and not the end user, some hackers and privacy-conscious netizens catalog open proxies and use them to anonymize their surfing.

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