FoxyProxy does not inherently secure your privacy or anonymize you. FoxyProxy does not change/mask/hide your IP address.
Privacy and anonymity are dependent upon a number of factors, including but not limited to the proxies you use. Please be careful using FoxyProxy if you are expecting complete anonymity because some have argued that FoxyProxy -- when used in patterns mode
(identified by the orange FoxyProxy icon
and the Use proxies based on their pre-defined patterns and priorities
text) -- can actually make you more susceptible to privacy breaches.
The crux of the issue is this. Most web pages are comprised of resources from multiple domains. When FoxyProxy is used in patterns mode
, unless you define whitelist patterns which match all
resources on a page, then some of those resources won't load through proxies. The easiest way around this issue is to change FoxyProxy's mode from patterns
. In dedicated mode
(identified by the blue FoxyProxy icon
and the Use proxy "xyz" for all URLs
text), FoxyProxy ignore all patterns, loading all
resources through a single proxy... just like SwitchProxy, TorButton, and most other Firefox proxy extensions. For another solution that permits you to continue using patterns with FoxyProxy, read on.
Let's demonstrate the issue with an example. This page
includes an image from the domain img217.imageshack.us and also an image from getfoxyproxy.org. Let's say you visit the page with FoxyProxy in patterns mode
and have defined the single whitelisted, wildcard pattern http://getfoxyproxy.org/*
associated with a proxy named Behemoth
. The image on the top of the page, hosted on getfoxyproxy.org, will load through Behemoth
, but the other image, hosted at img217.imageshack.us, won't load through any proxy. It will load through your direct internet connection (assuming the Default Proxy
is configured to use your direct internet connection). If you have any cookies for imageshack.us, those will be sent by your browser to imagshack.us. I hope you can see the issue more clearly now.
is one of FoxyProxy's greatest strengths and is what sets FoxyProxy apart from most other Firefox proxy extensions. However, it can also be its greatest weakness if not used appropriately. If you are using a proxy for complete privacy and anonymity, there are two recommended ways to use FoxyProxy so this privacy and anonymity is maintained:
- Forego patterns and use FoxyProxy in dedicated (non-patterns) mode; i.e., "Use Proxy XXX for all URLs". This is indicated by the blue FoxyProxy icon in the statusbar and toolbar.
- Use FoxyProxy in patterns mode but change the settings for the Default Proxy from using your direct internet connection to a bogus (i.e., non-existent) proxy such as localhost:55555. When a URL is reached which doesn't match a whitelisted pattern, the URL will attempt load through this non-existent proxy. The attempt will time out and fail. In this way, you can still leverage patterns but not compromise privacy and anonymity.