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Proxy handling in Vectra

Proxy handling in Vectra

Vectra requires traffic from the client machines to the Internet to be captured south of any proxy or NAT devices.

North of proxy/NAT placement – explicit proxy (not recommended, results in loss of efficacy)
If placed north of proxy, flows from multiple hosts will be mapped to the single proxy IP and would result in spurious detections being associated with the proxy IP. If Vectra determines that any IP is a northside proxy IP, it is designed to automatically turn off all detections originating from the proxy IP. This results in a loss of detection efficacy, which is why the south of proxy placement is highly recommended.


If spurious detections are being attributed to northside proxy IPs, it is likely that the automatic proxy detection has failed or not yet occurred. Please contact Vectra support for help in manually adding the proxy IP.

South of proxy placement – explicit proxy
In case of an explicit proxy, the client machines in the enterprise are configured to send traffic to the explicit proxy IP (either through an explicit proxy configuration or using a PAC file). Based on traffic patterns, Vectra automatically detects the presence of explicit proxies when deployed south of the proxy. This southside proxy detection is highly reliable. However, if you do see indications that it has not been detected – either failure to detect N-S detection types or presence of E-W detection types with the proxy IP as a target – please contact Vectra support for confirmation that the southside proxy has been detected.

Explicit proxies can be deployed to proxy traffic to the internet (N-S proxy) or to proxy traffic between two parts of the organization (E-W proxy). To determine whether the explicit proxy is proxying N-S traffic or E-W traffic, Vectra uses the following logic for HTTP and HTTPS traffic:

1. Pull the destination domain from the HTTP request (for HTTP) or the HTTP CONNECT request (for HTTPS traffic)
2. Look up the domain in the DNS cache
3. If matched:
     - If the resolved address is internal, treat it as E-W
     - If the resolved address is external, treat it as N-S
4. If there was no match in the DNS cache, treat it as N-S by default

Note that this means that Vectra must see the DNS traffic from the proxy to distinguish N-S from E-W flows. If DNS traffic is not visible, then domains will not match in the cache and all HTTP/HTTPS flows will thus be treated as N-S by default. Non-HTTP/HTTPS traffic destined to the explicit proxy IP is treated by the platform as an in-to-in traffic flow from the client to the proxy IP.

Transparent proxy deployment
For a transparent proxy, there is no proxy IP visible to the rest of the network. Packets from the client are destined to the desired destination (internal or external) and the transparent proxy intercepts, inspects and forwards the traffic onto the destination. Thus, transparent proxy scenario is akin to a non-proxy deployment as far as Vectra is concerned.

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