Anonymous proxies still 'major security concern'

Ninety per cent of IT managers in the educational sector view anonymous proxies to be a problem, compared with 51 per cent in the private sector. Anonymous proxies are the most popular way to bypass an organisation’s Internet filtering: thus connected, users can surf any website unmonitored, even if it should have been blocked by a Web filter.

Bloxx’s survey reveals that 64 per cent of IT managers in the education sector view anonymous proxies as ‘a security threat’, and 34 per cent consider them to be ‘a serious problem’. While this figure is slightly less for IT teams in the private sector – at 46 per cent – 12 percent of the respondents remain unsure, indicating ‘a possible lack of knowledge’ concerning the use of anonymous proxies in this sector.

The Bloxx survey revealed that 65 per cent of IT managers in the private sector, and 47 per cent in education, admit to spending the same amount of time as last year dealing with anonymous proxies. The results also show that education IT teams spend more time resolving problems caused by anonymous proxies than their private sector counterparts, with 41 per cent allocating between one and four hours a week.

“The volume and easy availability of Anonymous Proxy sites has increased dramatically over the past few years and many hundreds are now created each week,” says Bloxx CEO, Eamonn Doyle. “More and more people, particularly students, are using them as a means to surf the Internet free from the restrictions of Internet filtering, oblivious to the security risks associated with this.”

Doyle adds: “Anonymous proxies can cause a variety of issues for organisations, yet concerns seem to vary depending on the sector. The private sector is primarily concerned with Acceptable Use Policy violation and lost productivity, as well as threats to network security and data leakage. In the education sector, issues such as child protection, avoiding the exposure of students to inappropriate online material, and the prevention of bullying are of high importance.” However, unfiltered access to social networking sites and impact on bandwidth usage is an issue for both the private and education sector, Doyle says.

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