Anonymity with ProxyChains

Secret Chain

© Lead Image © viesinsh,

© Lead Image © viesinsh,

Article from Issue 276/2023

If you want to stay anonymous on the web, you don't need the Tor browser or a Tor-based distro like Tails. ProxyChains obscures your presence through proxies – with or without Tor on the back end.

A number of scenarios lead to a need for online anonymity. You might wish to remain anonymous while working as a journalist in a war-torn country, for example, or when acting as a whistleblower. Perhaps you are working as a security researcher? Or maybe you just want some privacy from commercial Internet businesses. This article shows how to disguise Internet traffic using a tool called ProxyChains [1]. I came across ProxyChains while taking part in some challenges at the TryHackMe site [2].

If there are multiple links in a chain of proxies, it is very hard to perform digital forensics on a visiting IP address. Using a number of proxies to route traffic through before the traffic makes it back to your computer is a highly effective way of remaining anonymous online. If you think about it for a moment, though, not all protocols work in this scenario. For instance, traffic routed in this way typically requires the TCP transfer protocol. DNS also poses some challenges. DNS lookups use UDP instead of TCP. A common weakness with VPNs is that they leak DNS lookups to systems outside of the VPN. The trail of DNS lookups makes it possible for external systems to harvest traffic and determine what sites a user has been visiting.

ProxyChains manages to cleverly resolve DNS through proxies. You can use ProxyChains with many popular TCP-based client applications – including network scanners, mail clients, and web browsers. The versatile ProxyChains is capable of supporting SOCKS4, SOCKS5, and HTTP proxy servers and can even mix different proxy types in the same chain.


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