[guardian-dev] supporting SOCKS on Android via a custom SocketFactory

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at guardianproject.info
Thu Mar 23 05:56:23 EDT 2017

Michael Rogers:
> On 22/03/17 12:54, Nathan of Guardian wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 22, 2017, at 08:23 AM, Michael Rogers wrote:
>>> Following up on an old thread to let you know that unfortunately the
>>> approach we found for getting OkHttp to use a SOCKS proxy isn't safe. In
>>> some cases OkHttp will try to resolve hostnames locally before creating
>>> sockets, which leaks DNS lookups to the local network. Cure53 found this
>>> in their recent audit of Briar. I'm currently trying to work out how big
>>> a change is required to fix this.
>> Do we need to implement or fork our own HTTP library to ensure safety?
>> Or is it just OkHttp itself that is the problem? I think Apache
>> HTTPClient is better, possibly Volley, as well?
> The problem is that we worked around the lack of proper SOCKS support at
> the OS level by passing a custom socket factory to OkHttp - the socket
> factory implements SOCKS, but OkHttp doesn't know that.
> When OkHttp doesn't think it's behind a SOCKS proxy it does local name
> resolution so it can make one connection attempt per address if there
> are multiple addresses for a name. It passes the resolved name/address
> pairs into the socket factory.
> Fortunately, we can configure OkHttp to use a custom DNS resolver as
> well as a custom socket factory. This allows us to capture the local
> name lookups. If we return as the address, OkHttp passes it
> through to the socket factory where we can discard the fake address and
> do the real name resolution via Tor.
> This fixes the bug, but it's kind of brittle. To make it more robust we
> can check that any name/address pairs passed into the socket factory
> have as the address. Even better would be some kind of OS-level
> regression test that checks that no name lookups have escaped the
> device, but that seems like a pretty big task.

This is more evidence for my case that we need to focus on HTTP proxies
for Android, since they are officially supported.  Unless there is a
public, supported API for SOCKS, we'll constantly be running into issues
like this.  We can get a nice, minimal, secure HTTP proxy built into
tord then all will be good on Android.


PGP fingerprint: EE66 20C7 136B 0D2C 456C  0A4D E9E2 8DEA 00AA 5556

More information about the guardian-dev mailing list