Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2016

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RevProbe: Detecting Silent Reverse Proxies in Malicious Server Infrastructures

Web service operators set up reverse proxies to interpose the communication between clients and origin servers for load-balancing traffic across servers, caching content, and filtering attacks. Silent reverse proxies, which do not reveal their proxy role to the client, are of particular interest since malicious infrastructures can use them to hide the existence of the origin servers, adding an indirection layer that helps protecting origin servers from identification and take-downs.
We present RevProbe, a state-of-the-art tool for automatically detecting silent reverse proxies and identifying the server infrastructure behind them. RevProbe uses active probing to send requests to a target IP address and analyzes the responses looking for discrepancies indicating that the IP address corresponds to a reverse proxy. We extensively test RevProbe showing that it significantly outperforms existing tools. Then, we apply RevProbe to perform the first study on the usage of silent reverse proxies in both benign and malicious Web services. RevProbe identifies that 12% of malicious IP addresses correspond to reverse proxies, furthermore 85% of those are silent (compared to 52% for benign reverse proxies).


Antonio Nappa    
IMDEA Software Institute

Rana Faisal Munir    
Universitat Politecnica de Catalonia

Irfan Khan Tanoli    
Gran Sasso Science Institute

Christian Kreibich    
LastLine & International Computer Science Institute
United States

Juan Caballero    
IMDEA Software Institute


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