Basic proxy server for Windows 95/98/NT platformsCSM Proxy Server PlussAdvanced Windows proxy serv

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002

The standard edition of CSM Proxy Server ($395) offers the basic set of features expected in an entry-level proxy server while the Plus ($695) and Enterprise ($895+) editions add filtering and advanced control capabilities for use in larger organizations. All three flavors of the CSM Proxy Server require Windows NT 3.51 Server or Workstation with Service Pack 4 or higher, Windows NT 4.0 Server or Workstation with Service Pack 1 or higher (both Intel and Alpha), or Windows 95/98 with Service Pack 1 + Winsock Kernel Patch (If ISDN is used, the ISDN service pack).

CSM Proxy Server works with the major Internet protocols -- HTTP, POP3, SMTP, Real Audio, Real Video, VDOLive, and telnet -- making it the proxy of choice for smaller Web installations that want a basic proxy server. CSM Proxy Server Plus/Enterprise editions add support for additional protocols -- IMAP4, FTP, NNTP (news), SOCKS 4 and SOCKS 5, and SMTP (Enterprise Only) -- making them much more attractive for use in the corporate world. SOCKS support is becoming important for many sites when setting up virtual-private networks, and CSM Proxy Server Plus and Enterprise support Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and SOCKS for IP tunneling. All three flavors of the CSM Proxy Server require Windows NT 3.

You can set the proxy up to work with everyone (which probably isn't the best idea), or you can enter up to 500 sites and domain addresses that are authorized to use the proxy. The proxy server will also deny access to specific domains or hosts; if your users attempt to contact these sites, they'll be given an error message saying that access is denied. If you are using SOCKS 4 or 5 security authentication on your site, you can set up CSM Proxy Server Plus to do DNS forwarding, where DNS requests are sent to an outside server and then sent back via the CSM Proxy Server.

One nice feature in CSM Proxy Server Plus is that it filters cookies out of the network stream, so your users won't inadvertently cause a security breach by storing cookies on their machines. (However, cookies initiated by Java scripts can not be filtered out.) Administration is performed by logging onto the host machine; alternatively, you can use the remote administration tool (however there are no browser-based administration capabilities available).

In CSM Proxy Server Plus and Enterprise editions, it is also possible to filter URLs based on their content using the product's SmartFilter Control List processing. The listings of banned sites include sexual content, hate-speech content, non-business worthless content, online gambling, job-search content, games content, chat gateway, dating and introduction sites, self-help sites, illegal-drug content, criminal-skills content, sports content, indecent content, Usenet news sites, and investing information, among many others. It's not likely that you'll be using these advanced filtering tools often outside of preventing access to porn-based sites, but this feature is handy if only for preventing access to that type of site.

CSM Proxy Server is a decent basic proxy server, although the list price of $395 ($495 with e-mail support and all upgrades) is on the steep side when compared to competitors. CSM Proxy Server Plus, while carrying a steeper list price of $695 ($845 with e-mail support and upgrades), offers advanced filtering capabilities that distinguish it from the rest of the proxy-server world. Upgrades for users of previous versions and competing proxy servers are also available (check out CSM's Web site for complete pricing details).

CSM Proxy Server Enterprise carries the steepest price tag at $995 (for the server itself and $1,495 per year for the server with CSM's Internet Security Suite), but it also offers the most bang for the buck. Distinctive features in the Enterprise edition include virus scanning capabilities (via McAfee), ActiveX and Java blocking, SMTP Command Filtering, support for Sequel Net Access Manager, support for Kansmen LittleBrother Internet Monitor, support for WebSENSE URL filtering (an add-on with subscriptions beginning at $500 per year), news filtering (another add-on with subscriptions beginning at $695 per year), and support for SmartFilter Control Lists (yet another add-on that runs $1,050+ per year).

With three different editions of CSM Proxy Server available, one is sure to meet your exact needs. Smaller organizations will gravitate to the standard edition and its less expensive price tag, but the Plus edition is the better value. For larger organizations, the Plus edition makes sense unless your needs mandate the more advanced features of the Enterprise edition. Assuming you can afford it, the Enterprise edition represents the ultimate proxy server solution from CSM and is a solid fit for enterprise environments.

Pros: 7 Advanced filtering of content and domains, 7 Supports a wide range of Web protocols, 7 Security support through SOCKS, 7 Three editions available (Standard, Plus, and Enterprise), 7 Virus scanning and ActiveX/Java blocking in the Enterprise edition

Cons: 7 Enterprise edition is relatively expensive compared to other proxy servers, 7 No browser-based administration tools, 7 No security features in CSM Proxy Server standard edition


New in v4.1: 7 Throughput speed doubled with use of Winsock2, 7 CARP (Cache Array Routing Protocol) support, 7 Visual Remote Watch, 7 Reverse (transparent) HTTP proxy, CSM Proxy Cache virus scanner, SMTP proxy with command filter, 7 Native News proxy support, 7 IMAP 4.1 proxy support, 7 SOCKS 5 support, 7 SSL3 support; 7 Linux release; 7
List of Features

Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v4.2: Virus scanning with Ikarus Scan Engine, URL blocking with CSM SiteBlocker, SmartFilter configurable per user and group, and automatic database reload for SmartFilter (all for Enterprise release); reworked implementation of CARP (Plus and Enterprise releases)
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in v4.2 Build 1999 11 03: McAfee VirusScan 4.0 now supported for CSM Proxy Server Enterprise, but Proxy Server must be restarted if new McAfee virus DAT files are uploaded; various IP, HTTP and FTP bugs fixed
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v4.2 Build 1999 11 29: Various HTTP, FTP and SOCKS bugs fixed or workarounds implemented; when using FTP over HTTP, virus scanning does not work if using a cascade
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v4.2 Build 2000 01 20: Logging bug where the name of the log file contained "100" instead of "2000" for the year was fixed; fixed two FTP bugs, the proxy could not recognize if the connection had broken after it had received authorization, and it crashed while contacting some FTP servers that send an invalid response in a certain state
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.0 Build 2000 01 31 (CSM Proxy Server Enterprise only): Banner and Pop-up filters added; Mime Blocking; RSAC Check; Virus Scanning with Trend Micro Scan Engine; LDAP Authorization; AutoUpdate refreshes configuration (especially for NT groups); new administration interface; new service "CSM Config Server" is responsible for remote administration sessions with CSMRAT; new service "CSM Scheduler" processes automatic update for the CSM SiteBlocker database; Backup and Restore Tool enables for a save upgrade of existing installations
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in v5.0.1 (CSM Proxy Server Enterprise only): SOCKS now allows cascading; various HTTP bugs fixed (e.g., expiry date in http header now checked correctly, settings under "Proxies-HTTP" now apply only if no authorization is used, and bypass cascade list now applies); Java-based interface; various FTP and logging bugs fixed;
Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.0.3 Build 2000 04 06: Various HTTP errors fixed; reverse-HTTP requests are now logged correctly; local group authorization works correctly; OnlyAllow/Deny lists work; users can be in groups that don't have a BaseDN; HTTP can be used over SOCKS; some system instabilities fixed; problems encountered when using HTTPS with Standard Edition; have been fixed as well; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v4.2 Build 2000 04 18: Javablocking now works for all Applets; Java-Script filtering no longer results in error messages in Netscape Communicator; exceptions for Java-, Javascript-, and ActiveX- filtering now applies; virus scan no longer results in download-loops on several files; groups can be added remotely via Web-based administration; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.0.6: Proxy and Probot Remote Watch newly implemented; Remote Watch available from browser window; Error log entry appears if the limit of doproxyfor-entries exceeded; Various FTP_over_HTTP bugs fixed; Security leak (dot dot attack)fixed; reaching the set connection limit no longer casues the proxy to crash; event-log entry now has information for rule- and auth-log; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.0.8 (CSM Proxy Server Enterprise Only): licencemode changed; RAM consumption was increased by 25 percent due to the loading of the siteblocker list; Site Blocker now available with 38 different categories; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.1 (CSM Proxy Server Enterprise Only): Increased stability in proxy shutdown situation; fixed spelling mistake of INVESTMENT category in private list file; split URLlist and privatelist treatment when loading; block all request switch checks if URL list or private list could not be loaded; NTLM bug fixes made to port 80 connections and POST requests; improved mail parser; virus engine change during runtime is possible; improve DNS handling; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

Version Reviewed: 4.1 Patch 5
Reviewed by: Reichard/Stroud
Last Updated: 5/23/01
Date of Original Review: 8/26/98

Operating Systems / Latest Versions:

Windows NT: Intel, Alpha: v4.2a. Windows 95/98: v4.2a. Unix: Linux - v4.1

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