enterprisesecuritymag

Why Should One Prefer SOCKs5 Proxy to Other Proxies?

By Enterprise Security Magazine | Thursday, October 10, 2019

A SOCKs5 proxy is a useful tool to easily change IP to bypass restrictions that enable accessing geo-blocked content without encrypting traffic.

FREMONT, CA: In computer networks, a proxy or proxy server is a computer or a software system in a computer that acts as an intermediary between the user and the server. It directs the connection between the sender and receiver by allowing data to enter via one port and forward it to the rest of the network via another port. It is employed for forwarding traffic and is more secure because it hides the actual IP address of a server. Another advantage is that its cache can serve all the users, which improves user response time. A proxy server can encrypt data to protect files and databases from misuse and block access to specific webpages based on IP addresses.

Let us navigate through a specific type of proxy—SOCKs5—and find out how it works.

SOCKS Proxy

SOCKS stands for Socket Secure, which is a network protocol designed to route any kind of traffic generated by any protocol to the actual server on behalf of the client. It works by creating a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection to another server behind the firewall on behalf of the client. In simple words, it is said to bridge the gap between the users’ devices and the internet. In no way, SOCKS proxy will interpret the network traffic between the client and the server; however, it is used because the clients are behind the firewall, and they cannot establish TCP connections to external servers without the use of SOCKS proxy server. Thus, a SOCKS proxy acts to relay a user’s TCP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) session over the firewall.

SOCKS is a layer 5 protocol that does not take into consideration anything below that layer in the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, and it cannot be used to tunnel protocols below this layer. From a security perspective, it hinders attackers to perform scans by tools like Nmap, if they are scanning based on half-open connections. Sitting at layer 5 between SSL (layer 7) and TCP/UDP (layer 4), it can handle several types of requests, including HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP, and FTP. Therefore, SOCKS can be used for email, peer-to-peer sharing, web browsing, file transfer, and more. SOCKS proxy exists in two versions: SOCKS4 and SOCKs5. While SOCKS4 doesn’t support authentication, UDP proxies, SoCKs5 is more secure as it establishes a full TCP connection with authentication.

SOCKs5 overhauls other proxies and is extensively used for the following reasons.

Access Back-end Services behind a firewall

A SOCKs5 is a better alternative to access any back-end services with dynamic port forwarding using SSH. An administrator or developer could access any back-end services within a cluster hosted in the cloud behind a firewall for debugging and monitoring applications from a public network. To establish security, administration, or monitoring application APIs or web user interface (UI) ports for monitoring the Hadoop cluster are closed by default when hosted on the cloud. By using SSH dynamic port forwarding to master a node cluster, these APIs or web UIs can be accessed from outside. Also, using SSH dynamic port forwarding, one can access the remote instances that are running in the virtual private cloud (VPC).

Flexible and Secure

While high-level proxies like HTTP, designed for a specific protocol that can work with HTTP and HTTPS proxies, SOCKs5 are low-level proxies that are flexible and secure in handling any program or traffic or protocol.

Easy Setup

There is no need for any special setup until one has SSH access to either the edge node or gateway of a cluster. Therefore users can access back-end resources behind the firewall using SSH tunnel without requiring a virtual private network (VPN).

Minimal Error Occurs

SOCKs5 do not rewrite data packet headers like others having a chance of misrouting or mislabeling the data. This results in a lower probability of error occurrence, thereby automatically improving the performance.

Avoid Internet Blocks

As all proxy servers act as a relay between the user device and the internet, it helps bypass internet blocks. For example, if a certain website blacklists an IP, one can use SOCKs5 proxy to route the traffic and bypass the block. But national firewalls cannot be circumvented as they use deep packet inspection (DPI). As a result, before reaching the website, traffic is blocked by the users’ ISP.

Faster and Reliable Connection

SOCKs5 proxy servers use UDP protocol along with TCP protocol that was solely used by its predecessors and ensures a reliable connection and efficient performance. The TCP internet protocol forms a connection between a client and a server such that it makes sure that packets arrive from one side to the other. This requires fitting the content into a fixed format to get transferred easily. UDP overcomes this by focusing on all packets that are transferred in the same order besides concentrating only on whether the packets from the client or server reach the other side. UDP reduces the time taken for the conversion of data packets into a stream of fixed data packets. This enhances the speed offered by SOCKs5 and provides a reliable connection.

Of all, SOCKs5 is ideal for torrent as it masks the IP address and has excellent performance for torrents and P2P, and offers greater torrent protection such that some torrent apps stop downloading when SOCKs5 connection is not active. It is easy to configure with any program. Further, it is faster than VPN as there is no encryption; speed is not affected.

SOCKs5 is the best option to unblock the internet and setting it up is super easy whether one needs to access restricted content or download torrents. But it has some privacy challenges while surfing the web because it does not encrypt traffic, and therefore browsing history and other online activities will be exposed. In such cases, one can use it with a VPN where all the traffic will be sent through a proxy server and VPN server before reaching the destination. All data is encrypted in the VPN server, and this procedure will keep the user safe but slows down the connection.

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