SOCKS : Java Glossary


SOCKS (Sockets). A proxy server protocol for tunnelling through firewalls. SOCKS hides the inside IP (Internet Protocol) addresses from the outside world. Unlike NAT (Network Address Translation), SOCKS is not transparent. Applications have to be configured to use it. Why bother? SOCKS permits authentication. You can block your users from accessing the web without a password, while you can open parts of the web to them without one.

Because it is generic, any suitably equipped client program can make connections via a SOCKS server -HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), DNS (Domain Name Service), ICQ…

SOCKS exists in 2 revisions:

  1. SOCKS v4 made connections out and allowed incoming connections (like, in FTP (File Transfer Protocol), where the server normally connects to the client i.e. in non passive mode). User authentication was basic, relying on the client running an IDENT service .
  2. SOCKS v5 extended 4, adding support for various user authentication schemes and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) encapsulation (streaming media/quake-style games).

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