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Definition: SOCKS

(SOCKetS) A circuit-level proxy server for IP networks from the IETF. Written by David and Michelle Koblas in the early 1990s, SOCKS became a de facto standard before ratification of SOCKS5 by the IETF. SOCKS is a general-purpose proxy that is typically used for non-HTTP traffic such as FTP, Telnet, etc. SOCKS4 handles TCP connections while SOCKS5 added support for UDP, ICMP, user authentication and hostname resolution.

SOCKS requires that the client be configured to transmit directly to the SOCKS server, or a SOCKS driver can be used to intercept calls from a non-SOCKS application. Many Web browsers and other Internet applications support SOCKS, and applications can be "SOCKSified" by compiling them with the SOCKS library. For a line of SOCKS-compliant applications, visit Blue Coat Systems' ProxySG software series at www.bluecoat.com. See proxy server and TCP/IP stack.