More then a year ago I wrote a post where I explained how to set up secure digest authentication for Squid proxy server so passwords would not be sent in plain text to the server when authenticating.
That post was written for squid 2.6 but recently I had to set up the same thing on Squid 2.5 and I found out that the setup was a bit different.
Squid 2.5 is really very old and fewer and fewer will be using it in the future as even Squid 2.6 becomes obsolete with the release of Squid 3.0 .
So if you are considering setting up a new proxy server using squid please use Squid 2.6 and take a look at how to set up digest authentication in squid 2.6
The differences are really minor but here there are listed in case I or someone else needs to still set up squid 2.5 with it.
The first difference is in the way you have to specify the "digest program" auth param.
for squid 2.6 it has to be like this :
auth_param digest program /usr/lib/squid/digest_pw_auth -c /etc/squid/digest_passwd
but for squid 2.5 it has to be :
auth_param digest program /usr/lib/squid/digest_pw_auth /etc/squid/digest_passwd
The second difference is in how the passwords are stored. In Squid 2.6 the passwords are stored securely as an md5 hash but in squid 2.5 they are stored in plain text in this format "username:password" . ( one more reason to make sure /etc/squid/digest_passwd can't be read by anyone other then squid user )
So for squid 2.5 what you gain in security over the network transmission of the password you lose in security at the password storage. This may still be a good deal if your local security is high but there isn't any way you can control the security of the network between you and the proxy server.
If you're trying to use a socks server with Internet Explorer , Firefox, Opera or Safari everything will work just fine, except for authentication.
From my point of view this is a big problem. Who in the world would leave such a proxy server unprotected? Yeah of course you can always limit access to a proxy server based on ip address, but in some cases ( see NAT ) this is just not going to work.
Internet explorer supports only the socks4 protocol which doesn't even support full password authentication ( only username and it defaults to the current logged in username ) .
Firefox supports socks5 but no authentication mechanism so supporting socks5 is pretty much useless. I think I saw some ticket in bugzilla about this but no one managed to commit a fix yet.
Opera doesn't even support socks protocol but I thought I should mention all major browsers 🙂
Safari supports SOCKS5 and even allows you to set a username and password to access the SOCKS server but it does not use them.
I tried Konqueror, but I was unable to specify the Socks server, I guess this is because it was not compiled with a socks library. Has anyone had any success with Konqueror and Socks ?
If you use authentication in squid you have several mechanisms ( authenticators ) to chose from. The Basic authenticator is the easiest to set up and the most insecure because the client sends the username and password in plain text to the proxy server.
Instead of using the basic you would consider using the digest authenticator. This authenticator does not require the client to send the user and password in plain text but encoded in an MD5 hash so that an attacker that captures the data between the client and proxy server will not be able to use the user and password.