Securing Proxy Servers Against Malicious Attacks

Securing Proxy Servers Against Malicious Attacks. Today, many organizations do use a  proxy server to administer and control network traffic. The web proxy servers main job is enabling the protection from outside threats, controlling access to the internet, and to filtering content. But, proxy servers also introduce safety risks, if not properly secured.

Next, we introduce how proxy server works and then discuss which risks are involved in the use of proxy servers. We also talk about how to secure proxy servers against malicious attacks.

So, let’s start with article Securing Proxy Servers Against Malicious Attacks.

How does Proxy Server work?

When visiting a website using a proxy server, your device’s data is forwarded to the destination server via a third-party server. During the process, the proxy filter assigns a virtual IP address to the device. Then, web pages receive information about virtual IP addresses instead of real IP addresses. Importantly, proxy server uses IP addresses that allows visitors to unblock and visit websites.

As a result, the proxy server secures user’s identity. However, what about the issue of protection? Maybe a virtual network (VPN) offers a better and more comprehensive solution?

Anyway, coming back to proxy servers, they give us several advantages when it comes to security, but they also have vulnerabilities. Below are the most common vulnerabilities found in a proxy server.

Common Security Vulnerabilities for Proxy Server

1. Spam and Virus attacks

In fact, proxy servers are highly vulnerable to spam and viruses. That’s because banners and advertisements are inserted, which leads to increased vulnerability to risks. The ads notifications bring in big security problem for the device. The most common problems are unwanted software (PUP) and viruses.

2. Slower Internet and browsing Experience

We may think that many different Internet users rely on proxy servers, and they do! They want to visit their favourite websites. But do proxy carry ?The heavy traffic come with a proxy, which leads to slowing down of your internet browsing experience. Really, there is not much difference, even with a paid proxy, as this vulnerability is common amongst proxies

3. Security Hacks

When browsing the websites, the proxy follows the same model including the blocked websites, in some regions. But to solve the problem, it uses third party to load your website. 

The vulnerability here is with using proxy server, is that- you give all your data and browsing history to proxy server and it all depends on their level of security. If the server is malicious it logs literally all the data. Then the risk increases of getting your account compromised or even to loose it.  

Remember, also a proxy server does not give you anonymity because it does not encrypt your data. As a result, online criminals easily intercept and steal your data. So, when the network gets compromised, the risk of cyber attacks increases significantly.

4. Identity Theft

Another problem is identity theft. A common problem for proxy users.  It doesn’t matter what you do online, your identity can often be taken away when you least expect it. When you use a proxy server, it records your details and gives it to the third party. You do not even realise it. 

What proxy services do, they register a hostname and can and will sometimes resell the data to third parties. This poses a risk of theft and invasion of privacy.

How to Improve Proxy Server Security?

You must take several steps to ensure a secure configuration of a proxy server. Properly configure it for maximum security. That’s why we have found some of these most needed steps to assist you.

Content Filtering Settings

A necessary step is to configure a proxy server to be able to filter unwanted or malicious information, data, content. If we want to limit this type of activity, it is enough to configure it to block certain types of traffic or content. You can also use an antivirus to protect us from bad software passing through a proxy server.

Maintain regular Updates and Fixes

Make regular updates and patches to the proxy server to ensure that known bugs are gone and the filter is immune to new threats.

Disable HTTP connection

The best option is to disable the option to use the HTTP CONNECT method, which is used to create a loop through the proxy server. That step allows attackers to cheat the proxy server and gain access to the target server.

Use SSL/TLS encryption

To be more secure the necessary step is to configure your proxy server using SSL/TLS encryption for all traffic between clients and the server. This ensures that any sensitive communication passing over the web is safe from being eavesdropped and tampered with.

The use of Authentication and Authorization

Enabling that service means that only authenticated users gain entry to proxy. Authorization is about  preforming checks to limit their access to certain resources. It ensures that only approved users  access sensitive information.

Access Controls

Use access control mechanisms to reduce the range of access to the proxy server, ensuring that only authorized users access it. This includes limiting the ability to gain access to server configuration files, logs and other sensitive information.

Add a Firewall

Certainly, adding a firewall adds the security of the proxy server. It is the basic security step for most computer users. Firewalls help to stop or contain any malicious attacks on the proxy server. At the same time, make sure that the route for the firewall is password protected. If the route is not password protected, a good hacker is able to bypass or disable the firewall.

Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxies are particular proxies that protect and encrypt other proxies and are extremely helpful for large network. Reverse proxies work as best against malicious connections, that damage your computer and network. This type of proxy also increase the speed of data transfer over the network because of the high-level caching and encryption.

Common Types of Attacks against Proxy Servers

Emerging vulnerabilities in the security of content delivery networks (CDNs) have caused many to wonder whether the networks themselves are vulnerable to various cyber attacks. The following examples should show us how type of attacks.

Increase in Dynamic Content Attacks

Attackers have discovered that serving dynamic content type requests is a major weakness in CDNs. Dynamic traffic content is not stored on the CDN servers, so all requests for dynamic data content are sent to the origin server. An attacker uses this behaviour to construct an attack that includes arbitrary parameters in an HTTP GET request. These CDN servers immediately redirect attack traffic to the origin and wait for the origin server to process the request. 

However, in many cases, origin servers cannot handle all of these attack requests and cannot provide online services to legitimate users. This results in a denial of service situation. Some CDNs may limit the number of dynamic requests sent to the compromised server.

SSL based DDoS attacks

To detect and mitigate SSL based attacks, the CDN server must first decrypt the traffic using the client’s SSL key. SSL attack traffic is redirected to the client’s origin if the client does not wish to provide an SSL key to the CDN provider. This makes the client vulnerable to SSL attacks. These attacks, targeting customers at their source, can easily take down secure online services.

Moreover During DDoS attacks, when WAF web application firewall. Technologies, CDNs also have a significant scaling disadvantage when it comes to the number of SSL connections per second they support. Serious latency issues can occur. PCI compliance and other security issues are also a concern, as they limit the data centers that is used for customer service. This causes increased delays and audit problems.

Tips to stop and prevent DDoS attacks:

  • Use a web application firewall (WAF).
  • Monitor your website traffic.
  • Change the server IP or call your ISP immediately.
  • Set up redundant network architecture.
  • Configure firewalls and routers.
  • Enable geo blocking (country blocking).

Direct IP attacks

Applications served by CDNs can also be attacked if attackers directly access the IP addresses of web servers in customer data centers. It can be a network flood, such as a UDP flood or an ICMP flood that hits the client server directly without being routed through the CDN service. These volumetric network attacks overload internet channels. This leads to degradation of applications and online services, including those provided by CDNs.

Well, we hope you enjoyed reading Securing Proxy Servers Against Malicious Attacks. 

Securing Proxy Servers Against Malicious Attacks Conclusion

In summary, a proxy server is a critical component in many organizations’ network infrastructure that provides level of security and control over network traffic. However, it is also vulnerable to many types of malicious attacks, including DDoS attacks, proxy chains, and malware attacks.

Protecting the proxy server from malicious attacks is very important. This key component of the network infrastructure is a potential target for cybercriminals. This article outlines various methods that help to protect the proxy server from attacks, such as SSL encryption, IP address filtering, software updates, access control, etc.

It’s essential to keep in mind, that protecting proxy servers against malicious attack is an ongoing process and requires constant monitoring and updates. Taking the appropriate steps to make proxy servers more secure, greatly reduces the risk of attack and protect sensitive data and user privacy.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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