Existing since 2015, the 911 proxy service (911.re) ceased its operations on July 28, 2022, after hackers maliciously damaged its server data and destroyed several key components of its system. 911 was regarded as one of the first proxy providers that offered residential proxies to users. Now, when you visit the website, all you get is this message.
A week before shutting down, an article was published by KrebsOnSecurity that detailed 911’s shady practices and schemes to obtain more IP addresses for their proxies. 911 already built its network through the use of “Free VPNs” or “Free Proxies” and turned the device of anyone who downloaded those applications into proxies for 911 users. People who downloaded those applications get access to a VPN, but they’re often unaware that their device has turned into a proxy for others.
In this article, KrebsOnSecurity stated that 911 operated multiple pay-per-install programs that bundled their proxy software with other software. This method became the main source of new proxies for 911 to utilize.
After the article was released, 911 released a notice to its users. It stated that they were reviewing the network and were planning to carry out new security measures to examine if the usage of its services is “legit”. It also stated that it would be closing registrations for new users and preventing top-ups to proxy balances. 911 users then complained that they could not use its services anymore.
On July 28, 2022, 8 days after its notice, 911 announced that it was completely shutting down its services. This was after an alleged cyber attack destroyed its system. Any important data that could have salvaged the situation has already been lost. 911 didn’t even know how it got compromised, so it decided to shut down the entire system.
The biggest takeaway from this is that it’s best to never use free proxies or free VPNs. Free services need some way to profit and they do that through selling your data or using your device for acts you’re completely unaware of. If you’re looking for an alternative proxy service to 911, then you can check out Geonode’s residential proxies!