Hello learners, in this guide we will setup proxychains when using the internet to ensure anonymity. Proxychains is a tool used by both black hat and white hat hackers to carry out their daily duties. White hat hackers use proxychains to expose system vulnerabilities that would have been exploited by the black hats. Malicious hackers setup proxychains to help cover their identities and bypass intrusion detection systems.
When a hacker attacks a system using proxychains, the intermediary IP address is left on the target system. This makes it difficult for forensic experts to trace the source of the attack. A proxy serves as an intermediary between the attacking computer and the target computer. i.e. Hackers will setup proxychains with nmap when scanning their target hosts to hide their identities from law enforcement agencies and the host security.
- Have Kali linux installed.
- Have knowledge of using the terminal.
- Have an editor installed. (In this guide we will use a terminal based tool nano)
- Proxychains allows us to use different types of proxies in the proxy list. The proxies don’t have to be in any order.ie. Different proxies can be mixed.
- It has and supports different chaining methods. Proxychains use three types of chains; string chain, random chain and dynamic chain method also known as smart option.
- Proxychains have support for HTTP, SOCKS 4 and SOCKS 5 proxy servers.
- DNS resolving through proxy is possible when using proxychains.
- Different TCP client applications can be handled when using proxychains.
Step 1: Getting proxies to setup proxychains
We need to get proxies to add in our proxychains configuration. The internet is a good source for free proxy services. We will be using proxyscrape to get free proxies for this tutorial. Proxyscrape has options to choose depending on what you want to use to ensure anonymity as shown on the image below.
In our case, we will be using SOCKS4 proxies for our proxylist. As you can see above, I have filtered proxies so that I am left with proxies that have a timeout of 50ms or lower. A lower timeout helps increase the speed of the connection.
Step 2: Using proxychains
We need to setup proxychains before we can use it. To edit and add new proxies to our proxy list, we need to edit proxychains.conf found on our system. To open proxychains.conf we will use “nano” which is a command line text editor tool using the below command.
Once we run the above command, we will be able to edit and add proxies to use in our proxy list.
Step 3: Adding proxies to the proxy list
We have our downloaded proxies list. We will copy them to our
proxychain.conf for us to use them as shown below. By default, traffic is sent through 127.0.0.1 on port 9050 which is a default Tor configuration hence it should be commented out when we are not using Tor as we setup proxychains.
Types of chains in proxychain
In the configuration file, we have three different types of chaining to use when we setup proxychains. Each working different from the other as expalined below.
- Dynamic chain – In dynamic chain dead proxies will be skipped, all other proxies will be used in the chain.
- Strict chain - Strict chain uses all the proxies in the list in order. No proxy is skipped.
- Random chain – random combination of proxies in the proxies list is used. A user can be able to specify the number of proxies to be used. It is prefferred for Intrusion Detection Testing.
In order to use any of the chains, we have to edit them in the configuration file while we setup proxychains. We can also uncomment the chain_len as it helps us determine the number of proxies to use anytime we use proxychains.
We will be using dynamic chain so we edit our configuration to use dynamic chain and remove the default strict chain as shown in the image below by removing and adding “
Step 4: Avoiding dns leak
While using proxychains, a dns leak may expose your real identity. To avoid such a scenario, proxychains has an option “
proxy_dns” which helps avoid identity leaks. If the proxy_dns option is not active, dns will be resolved normally using your system and when active it will redirect dns resolution making it fairly more complicated.
Step 5: Running proxychains
After we finish to setup proxychains, we are now ready to use it to ensure anonymity as we scan our target host. We will add the command “proxychains” on each command we run targeting our host. For example, if we want to run a scan against our host using nmap, we will use the below command.
proxychains nmap [host]
In this guide we have been able to setup proxychains to ensure our anonymity. Free proxy servers have been used to illustrate how to use proxychains. It should be noted that although free proxies will help to make you anonymous, it is recommended not to share personal information while using free proxies since we do not know who has control of the proxy servers our information is going through before it reaches its destination.
Sharing your personal information may lead to identity theft and other related online frauds.
As we setup proxychains, we should also check and remove the dead proxies and those that have a higher timeout to ensure the internet speed is relatively fast. It is recommended that we use private proxies. In some sophisticated attacks, the hackers use a pivoting method to attack systems which are not directly connected to the internet. A hacker will look for a machine within that system which is directly connected to the internet and use it at a pivot to attack the system.
Cyber laws will differ depending with the country where a proxy server is located. Using many proxy servers while we setup proxychains from around the world will make it difficult for law enforcement to trace an attacker due to differing cyber laws and jurisdiction used in different countries.
He is an accomplished professional proficient in Python, ethical hacking, Linux, cybersecurity, and OSINT. With a track record including winning a national cybersecurity contest, launching a startup in Kenya, and holding a degree in information science, he is currently engaged in cutting-edge research in ethical hacking.