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Chapter 29. Internet Security > Configuring Internet Explorer to Use a Proxy Se...

Configuring Internet Explorer to Use a Proxy Server

With ordinary dial-up Internet connections, client machines connect directly to Web or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers, making it possible for a would-be hacker to break into the network. To minimize that risk, most corporate networks include a firewall, a secure gateway made up of one or more systems that sit between the network and the Internet at large. Firewalls restrict the ability of outsiders to connect with machines inside the network while allowing legitimate users to access resources on the Internet. This combination of hardware and software is designed to intercept and filter packets of information, letting through only those that meet strict standards of security.

Carefully isolated machines called proxy servers are crucial components of most corporate firewalls. When a client computer inside the firewall requests a service from the Internet— a Web page, for example, or a file on an FTP server—the proxy server intercepts the request and handles the transaction. To the server on the other end of the connection, the request looks as though it came from the proxy server; a direct (and possibly compromised) connection between it and the host machine inside the firewall is impossible.


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