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Security Dictionary
Can't tell 'smtp' from 'snmp'? Find the precise meaning of these and hundreds of other security-related terms in our convenient and up-to-date Security Dictionary.
proxy server
(I) A computer process--often used as, or as part of, a firewall-- that relays a protocol between client and server computer systems, by appearing to the client to be the server and appearing to the server to be the client. (See: SOCKS.)

(C) In a firewall, a proxy server usually runs on a bastion host, which may support proxies for several protocols (e.g., FTP, HTTP, and TELNET). Instead of a client in the protected enclave connecting directly to an external server, the internal client connects to the proxy server which in turn connects to the external server. The proxy server waits for a request from inside the firewall, forwards the request to the remote server outside the firewall, gets the response, then sends the response back to the client. The proxy may be transparent to the clients, or they may need to connect first to the proxy server, and then use that association to also initiate a connection to the real server.

(C) Proxies are generally preferred over SOCKS for their ability to perform caching, high-level logging, and access control. A proxy can provide security service beyond that which is normally part of the relayed protocol, such as access control based on peer entity authentication of clients, or peer entity authentication of servers when clients do not have that capability. A proxy at OSI layer 7 can also provide finer-grained security service than can a filtering router at OSI layer 3. For example, an FTP proxy could permit transfers out of, but not into, a protected network.

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