Proxies are gateways that are positioned between clients’ computers (or networks) with the rest of the world. Proxies are designed to help users filter data that is coming in and out to protect the privacy of the client’s network. Proxies also serve to manage data loads, ensuring that malware is kept at bay and generally improve the speed and efficiency of the client’s computer or server.
This is the simplest form of proxy authorization and requires having a username and a password. Password-based proxy authorization is easy to implement and use. Its simplicity, however, is also its achilles-heel as they only offer a single layer of security.
Passwords are also easy to crack, especially in the face of a determined and well-resourced hacker. One of the ways you can mitigate against this issue is to ensure that you change the password frequently and make them difficult to crack. Security experts also recommend having another authentication measure in place, such as two-step authentication.
IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique number that is given your internet service provider to authenticate your access to their proxy servers. Using your IP address to authenticate means the IP address is whitelisted and requests from that IP address to the proxy server are approved. You can white list a number of IP addresses on a proxy server and this helps save time as you don’t have to memorize a number of passwords and user names to match the IP address you are using to log into the proxy.
Using IP addresses to authenticate proxy requests has its downsides as well. The first one is rather obvious; you can’t access the proxy if you are using an IP address that is not whitelisted on the proxy server. For example, you are traveling and you want to do some urgent work, you cannot pop into a coffee shop and work off their internet because their IP address is unlikely to be whitelisted on your proxy. Therefore, any requests that you make from the coffee shop network are likely to be rejected by the proxy server. The second problem is that internet providers often offer clients dynamic IP addresses meaning that they are likely to change every now and then. They do this to enhance security but this can pose problems to proxy servers that use IP addresses to authenticate requests.
Which is the Best?
It is pretty obvious that no one authorization system works best. When choosing which authorization technique to use, companies must keep in mind how their data is likely to be used and what kind of security threats they are likely to face.
For example, an organization that has confined all of its work to a single point (all data requests are likely to come from fixed IP addresses) might consider using password and IP authorization in order to make their network more secure. In such a scenario, the client would be banking on the fact that proxy requests are unlikely to come from other IP addresses.
If the user anticipates lots of requests coming from multiple IP addresses, they may just use password authentication but making it hard to crack. This might mean limiting the number of wrong passwords that can be entered before the system shuts down.