911 Proxy Service Implodes After Disclosing Breach

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The 911 service as it existed until July 28, 2022. 911[.]re, a proxy service that since 2015 has sold access to hundreds of thousands of Microsoft Windows computers daily, announced this week that it is shutting down in the wake of a data breach that destroyed key components of its business operations. The abrupt closure comes ten days after KrebsOnSecurity published an in-depth look at 911 and its connections to shady pay-per-install affiliate programs that secretly bundled 911's proxy software with other titles, including "free" utilities and pirated software. 911[.]re ~~is~~ was one of the original "residential proxy" networks, which allow someone to rent a residential IP address to use as a relay for his/her Internet communications, providing anonymity and the advantage of being perceived as a residential user surfing the web. Residential proxy services are often marketed to people seeking the ability to evade country-specific blocking by the major movie and media streaming providers. But some of them — like 911 — build their networks in part by offering “free VPN” or “free proxy” services that are powered by software which turns the user’s PC into a traffic relay for other users. In this scenario, users indeed get to use a free VPN service, but they are often unaware that doing so will turn their computer into a proxy that lets others use their Internet address to transact online. From a website’s perspective, the IP traffic of a residential proxy network user appears…

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