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CAPEC-465: Transparent Proxy Abuse

Transparent Proxy Abuse
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 465
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Completeness: Stub
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

A transparent proxy serves as an intermediate between the client and the internet at large. It intercepts all requests originating from the client and forwards them to the correct location. The proxy also intercepts all responses to the client and forwards these to the client. All of this is done in a manner transparent to the client. Transparent proxies are often used by enterprises and ISPs.

For requests originating at the client transparent proxies need to figure out the final destination of the client's data packet. Two ways are available to do that: either by looking at the layer three (network) IP address or by examining layer seven (application) HTTP header destination.

A browser has same origin policy that typically prevents scripts coming from one domain initiating requests to other websites from which they did not come. To circumvent that, however, malicious Flash or an Applet that is executing in the user's browser can attempt to create a cross-domain socket connection from the client to the remote domain. The transparent proxy will examine the HTTP header of the request and direct it to the remote site thereby partially bypassing the browser's same origin policy. This can happen if the transparent proxy uses the HTTP host header information for addressing rather than the IP address information at the network layer. This attack allows malicious scripts inside the victim's browser to issue cross-domain requests to any hosts accessible to the transparent proxy.

+ Attack Prerequisites
  • Transparent proxy is used

    Vulnerable configuration of network topology involving the transparent proxy (e.g., no NAT happening between the client and the proxy)

    Execution of malicious Flash or Applet in the victim's browser

+ Typical Severity


+ Attacker Skills or Knowledge Required

Skill or Knowledge Level: Medium

Creating malicious Flash or Applet to open a cross-domain socket connection to a remote system

+ Solutions and Mitigations

Design: Ensure that the transparent proxy uses an actual network layer IP address for routing requests. On the transparent proxy, disable the use of routing based on address information in the HTTP host header.

Configuration: Disable in the browser the execution of Java Script, Flash, SilverLight, etc.

+ References
[R.465.1] Robert Auger. "Socket Capable Browser Plugins Result In Transparent Proxy Abuse". 2009. <http://www.thesecuritypractice.com/the_security_practice/TransparentProxyAbuse.pdf>.
+ Content History
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2015-12-07Updated Related_Attack_PatternsInternal
Previous Entry Names
DatePrevious Entry Name
2015-12-07Socket Capable Browser Plugins Result In Transparent Proxy Abuse

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2017