Tag Archives: proxy

Outbound filtering of Web requests using Squid as a Proxy server

Frequently in my line of work I’ll be asked about filtering of outbound traffic from application servers. There are two schools of thought here, one is that an app server can have unfiltered access to the internet, and the other that the app server should have as little access to any resources (both inside and outside of the solution) as needed to preform its role.

This generally isn’t an issue if site to site VPNs, static IPs or similar are being used on the destination side. But what happens if your application requires access to something like Youtube, Facebook or Flickr. As these cloud services are not managed by the customer, we have no idea if they are on static IP addresses (and in the case of flickr, they do seem to change moderately frequently).

With this in mind a traditional Layer3/Layer4 firewall is only going to be able to handle this if it supports DNS resolution in its access-list set, and unfortunately (but for good reason) this is not a common feature. Cisco did introduce this to the ASA firewalls in 8.4, however I personally have not used this, so at the moment its still a bit of an unknown and I can’t recommend it to a customer.

There is however another way of doing this, whilst it might not be a perfect situation, it does at least allow you to filter outbound traffic.

The Squid proxy server has been around for quite some time and is quite a stable product, both in the forward (outbound) and reverse (inbound) HTTP proxy space. We’re going to use this to preform our outbound proxying. It is possible to use commercial products like a BlueCoat proxy, however I’m going to concentrate on the FOSS solution here.


Before we start we need to have the following:

  • A Linux Server (for this example I’m going to be using CentOS 6.4, however any linux distribution should work)

Installing Squid

This is a really simple task on most linux distributions, as not only has squid been since the early 90’s, it’s also really popular! You can use the package manager to install squid on most distributions

You should get a response similar to below:

We now would need to configure squid to start on boot

 SSL Proxying

Squid has a rather nice feature called SSLBump which allows us to preform a Man In the Middle SSL Proxy. Privacy issues aside on this feature (after all we’re using it for servers not for end users) this is going to work for us from the server side of things. One key thing to note is we have to trust the CA, that we’re going to generate, on all applications / servers. I’m not going to cover how to do this in this post.

Normally when we create an SSL certificate we’d do this with a specific domain, however as we’re going to be proxying for all domains we’re going to use a wildcard certificate. For the “Common Name” or Server name, we need to chose “*” as the value.

In order to create the CA you can follow the following post. One point of note is to ensure that you do not do this on the Squid server, as this would mean that should the server be compromised, the CA (which is trusted on multiple servers) is now trusted as well.

We need to create the certificate using the CA script as per the above post. CA -newreq This will look similar to

Once this is completed you’ll need to sign this with the  CA -sign command

Once this is completed, ensure that newcert.pem and newkey.pem are copied to the squid server. You will then also need to remove the passphrase from the key.

Once this is done, you’ll need to then also copy the cert into the same file

Configuring Squid

We’re going to make a very simple squid config, allowing access from the App servers to youtube.com, but no other hosts. Replace  /etc/squid/squid.conf with the following


Testing Squid

We’re going to use the curl command to test that the ACLs are working

First lets test google, this should fail. We specify the proxy with the -x flag

As you can see we get a 403 on this from Squid

Lets now try http access to youtube.com

This works as expected. Lets try https to youtube.com now!

This has failed as we’ve not got the CA certificate in the bundle that curl uses, lets get curl to ignore the SSL certificate

Now lets just make sure that other https sites don’t work.

 Forwarding all traffic via the Proxy server

Now the way that this is done depends on the firewall or router in use. What we need to achieve is to either D-NAT or redirect all traffic on port 80 / 443 outbound to the Squid server.

For a Cisco ASA there is a guide on how to do this with WCCP

For a Linux based device you would want to have a IPTables rule similar to