I am working on an application to intercept and modify HTTP requests and responses between a web browser and a web server (see how to intercept and modify HTTP responses on server side? for the background). I decided to implement a reverse proxy in ASP.Net which forwards client requests to the back-end HTTP server, translates links and headers from the response to the properly “proxified” URL, and sends the response to the client after having extracted relevant information from the response.
It is working as expected, except for the authentication part. the web server uses NTLM authentication by default, and just forwarding requests and responses through the reverse proxy does not allow the user to be authenticated on the remote application. Both the reverse proxy and the web application are on the same physical machine and are executed in the same IIS server (Windows server 2008/IIS 7 if that matters). I tried both enabling and disabling authentication on the reverse proxy app with no luck.
I have looked for information about it, and it seems to be related to the “double-hop problem”, which I do not understand. My question is: is there a way to authenticate the user on the remote application through the reverse proxy using NTLM? If there is none, are there alternative authentication methods I could use?
Even if you don’t have a solution to my problem, just pointing me to relevant information about it to help me get out of the confusion would be great!
asked Dec 6 ’10 at 16:14
I found what the problem was (and it is NTLM): in order to have the browser asks the user for its credentials, the response must have a 401 status code. My reverse proxy was forwarding the response to the browser, so IIS was adding a standard HTML code to explain the requested page cannot be accessed thus preventing the browser from asking credentials. The problem was solved by removing the response content when the status code is a 401.
With all due respect I have for the one that answered that some years ago, I must admit this is plainly false. The problem was indeed solved AFTER removing the response content when the status code is a 401, but it had none to do with the initial problem. The truth is that windows authentication was made to authenticate people over local windows networks, where no proxy server is present or even needed. The main problem with NTLM authentication is that this protocol does not authenticate the HTTP session but the underlying TCP connection, and as far as I know there is no way to access it from asp code. Every proxy server I tried broke NTLM authentication. Windows authentication is comfortable for an user because he won’t ever need to enter your password to whatever application may lie in your intranet, frightening for a security guy because there is an auto-login without even a prompt if the site domain is trusted by IE, shocking for a network administrator because it melts the application, transport and network layer into some “windows ball of mug” instead of just plain http traffic.
answered Dec 17 ’10 at 13:32
NTLM won’t work if the TCP packets are not forwarded exactly as the reverse proxy received > them. And that’s why many reverse proxy doesn’t work with NTLM authentication. (like nginx) > They forward HTTP requests correcty but not the TCP packets.
Nginx has the functionality to work with NTLM authentication. Keepalive needs to be enabled which is only available trough the http_upstream_module. Additionally in the location block you need to specify that you will be using HTTP/1.1 and that the “Connection” header field should be cleared for each proxied request. Nginx config should look something like:
I scratched my head for quite some time with this issue but the above works for me. Note that if you need to proxy HTTPS traffic, a separate upstream block is deemed necessary. To clarify a bit more, “keepalive 16;” specifies the number of simultaneous connections to the upstream your proxy is allowed to keep. Adjust the number as per the expected number of simultaneous visitors on the site.
answered Apr 7 ’14 at 16:50
Although this is an old post, I just want to report that it works for me quite well with an Apache2.2 reverse proxy and the keepalive=on option. Obviously, this keeps the connection between the proxy and the SharePoint host open and “pinned” to the client >proxy connection. I don’t exactly know the mechanisms behind this, but it works fairly well.
But: Sometimes, my users encounter the issue that they’re logged in as another user. So there seems to be some mixing-up through sessions. I will have to give this some further testing.
Solution for everything (in case you have a valid, signed SSL certificate): Switch IIS to Basic Auth. This works absolutely fine, and even Windows (i.e. Office with SharePoint connection, all WebClient-based processes etc.) won’t complain at all. But they will when you’re just using http without SSL/TLS, and also with self-signed certificates.
answered Apr 2 ’14 at 9:22
I confirm, it works with “keep-alive=on” on apache2.2
I examinated frames with wireshark and I know why it doesn’t work. NTLM won’t work if the TCP packets are not forwarded exactly as the reverse proxy received them. And that’s why many reverse proxy doesn’t work with NTLM authentication. (like nginx) They forward HTTP requests correcty but not the TCP packets.
For NTLM, a TCP reverse proxy is required.
answered Apr 3 ’14 at 21:30
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