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Where do people who publish "free proxies lists" get their lists from? I know those lists are commonly used for example by so called "internet marketers" for scraping websites. Search for "free proxy list" if you don't know what I'm talking about. Do people who publish them scan for misconfigured routers so that they can use them to proxy their traffic?

How many percent of those routers you think are home routers? That would be unethical to me because you basically hijack somebody's connection and slow it down for them and just leave the vulnerability for other people to exploit (who may do worse things than innocent scraping of websites).

Furthermore, would it possible to reach the IP owner somehow and inform them about the issue? If that's a home router, would writing to the ISP who may then contact the subscriber and help them work?

  • i assume those home user are aware and generous, don't be a tattle-tale. – dandavis Apr 2 '17 at 19:08
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    Being generous is good but why would anybody trust a stranger using their internet connection? – yeti Apr 2 '17 at 19:14
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    @yeta: ask people who use TOR, torrents, SETI@home, etc. </sarcasm> – dandavis Apr 2 '17 at 19:15
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    Just because it doesn't cost you any money doesn't mean it's not a business for them. There's plenty of money to be made in selling browsing data, inserting ads, and hijacking accounts. – Xiong Chiamiov Apr 2 '17 at 22:13
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Mostly the hackers will find the vulnerable proxies over the internet by running scanners to find servers lisitining to the web proxies common ports (8080,3128,8000) For the second part of the question normally any used public IP on the internet will have contact info for the IP owner and you can reach that information from whois.iana.org which will guide you on which site you will find more information related to the IP. You can contact the IP owner (which is normally ISP)

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People who have a "free"* proxy service will give it to one of the lists, then in a few hours the other lists will have got the ip too because they copy eachother.

*Don't trust the free name, most of them use your data for "research" and/or change the content of websites you visit (maliciously or just replacing ads with their own.).

See : https://youtu.be/0QT4YJn7oVI

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Like free VPNs, free proxies are usually something to avoid. Either they are published after someone has used them to card/hack from, or they are in use for that, to some extent. Of course, noone will ever suspect proxy operators of doing bad things, because how could they? There are many ways. Try installing squid, it's the best. See:

TL;DR:

Proxy operators can gain browser persistence, and

  • Steal cookies

  • Set cookies

  • Steal Local Shared Objects

  • Steal stored passwords from FireFox

  • Steal cached files

  • Poison browser cache

  • Steal files from the victim’s local file system through Internet Explorer

  • Run SQL queries on the victim’s Google Gears database and transfer the results

  • Create ResourceStore and Managed ResourceStore on the victim’s Google Gears LocalServer

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