Squid proxy cluster with ssl_bump on Google Cloud


Basic squid proxy cluster which supports SSL inspection (ssl_bump).

The usecase for this is to inspect outbound ssl traffic originating from instances that specify the squid cluster as the http_proxy for outbound traffic.

That is, with this configuration, an administrator can inspect the actual data within an SSL stream (i.,e allow https://www.google.com/foo but not https://www.google.com/bar and see headers, payload, etc).

This is achieved by using squid’s ssl_bump feature and delegating allow/deny decisions to a separate process that honors the ICAP protocol.

Use this setup to crate a cluster of squid proxies which:


NOTE: this just a SAMPLE and not supported by Google. caveat emptor

You can find the source here

If you use this setup, you MUST secure the service account, instance template and GCS bucket used by the cluster. Any client that you want to monitor must direct :443 traffic outbound towards the proxy.

…ofcourse, this is not a transparent proxy configuration: each client must honor proxy CONNECT protcol (eg, use http_proxy= directive)


  1. Setup some env-vars:
export GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID=`gcloud config get-value core/project`
export GOOGLE_PROJECT_NUMBER=`gcloud projects describe $GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID --format="value(projectNumber)"`
export REGION=us-central1
export ZONE=us-central1-a
export GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT=gce-svc-account@$GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID.iam.gserviceaccount.com
  1. Create the GCS Bucket o keep the configuation
gsutil mb gs://$BUCKET_SRC
  1. Enable some APIs
gcloud services enable oslogin.googleapis.com iap.googleapis.com secretmanager.googleapis.com
  1. Generate the squid binary

Squid proxies by default do not support ssl_bump. The Dockerfile provided in this repo compiles squid with ssl_bump and dynamic certificate generation

docker build -t docker_tmp .
docker cp `docker create docker_tmp`:/apps/squid .
tar cvf squid.tar squid/
  1. Copy the squid binary file to the GCS bucket
gsutil cp squid.tar gs://$BUCKET_SRC/
rm -rf squid.tar squid/

cd data/
gsutil cp  -r . gs://$BUCKET_SRC/data/
gsutil ls gs://$BUCKET_SRC/
  1. Save private key into Google Secrets Engine

The following step will encrypt the certificate that Squid uses to generate certificates. The public part of this is what clients use to trust the SSL connection!

export squid_key=`cat keys/CA_key.pem`
echo $squid_key
echo -n $squid_key | gcloud beta secrets create squid --replication-policy=automatic --data-file=-
  1. Create the Service Account for the cluster

… and assign permissions

gcloud iam service-accounts create gce-svc-account --display-name "GCE Service Account"
gcloud iam service-accounts describe  gce-svc-account@$GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID.iam.gserviceaccount.com

gcloud iam service-accounts add-iam-policy-binding $GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT --member=serviceAccount:$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT --role=roles/iam.serviceAccountUser
gcloud beta secrets add-iam-policy-binding squid --member=serviceAccount:$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT --role=roles/secretmanager.secretAccessor

gsutil iam ch serviceAccount:$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT:objectViewer gs://$BUCKET_SRC

gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID     --member=serviceAccount:$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT    --role=roles/monitoring.metricWriter
gcloud projects add-iam-policy-binding $GOOGLE_PROJECT_ID     --member=serviceAccount:$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT    --role=roles/logging.logWriter
  1. Generate the NAT
gcloud compute networks create custom-network1 --subnet-mode custom
gcloud compute networks subnets create subnet-$REGION-192  --network custom-network1 --region $REGION --range

gcloud compute routers create nat-router  --network custom-network1  --region  $REGION 

gcloud compute routers nats create nat-config --router=nat-router --auto-allocate-nat-external-ips --nat-custom-subnet-ip-ranges=subnet-$REGION-192  --region  $REGION 
  1. Create the MIG Instance template
gcloud compute instance-templates create squid-template --no-address --metadata=enable-oslogin=FALSE --service-account=$GCE_SERVICE_ACCOUNT --scopes=cloud-platform --machine-type g1-small --tags squid  --network custom-network1  --image-family=debian-9  --image-project=debian-cloud  --subnet=subnet-$REGION-192 --region $REGION --metadata-from-file startup-script=startup.sh

note these instances use the service account that is provided and does NOT have external network connectivity.

You can optionally enable OS Login

  1. Create firewall rules to allow access from ILB
gcloud compute  firewall-rules create firewall-rules-squid-allow-hc  --priority=1000 --network custom-network1  --allow=tcp:3128 --source-ranges=,  --target-tags=squid 

gcloud compute firewall-rules create allow-squid --direction=INGRESS --priority=1000 --network=custom-network1 --action=ALLOW --rules=tcp:3128 --target-tags=squid

gcloud compute firewall-rules create disable-https-egress --direction=EGRESS --priority=1100 --network=custom-network1 --action=DENY --rules=tcp:443

gcloud compute firewall-rules create allow-https-egress --direction=EGRESS --priority=1000 --network=custom-network1 --action=ALLOW --rules=tcp:443 --target-tags=squid

Note: the rules above prevents any traffic outbound from any VM in that network out to the internet on :443 unless it originated from the proxy server

  1. Setup the rest of the ILB
gcloud compute health-checks create tcp hc-tcp-3128 \
    --check-interval=5s \
    --timeout=5s \
    --healthy-threshold=2 \
    --unhealthy-threshold=2 \

gcloud compute instance-groups managed create  squid-central-ig  --base-instance-name squid --template=squid-template --size=1 --zone=$ZONE

gcloud compute instance-groups managed set-autoscaling squid-central-ig \
    --max-num-replicas 3 \
    --target-load-balancing-utilization 0.6 \
    --cool-down-period 90 --zone=$ZONE 

gcloud compute backend-services create squid-map-backend-service  --load-balancing-scheme=internal --protocol TCP --health-checks hc-tcp-3128 --region $REGION

gcloud compute backend-services add-backend squid-map-backend-service  --instance-group squid-central-ig  --instance-group-zone $ZONE --region $REGION

gcloud compute forwarding-rules create squid-ilb \
    --region=$REGION \
    --load-balancing-scheme=internal \
    --ip-protocol=TCP \
    --ports=3128  --network custom-network1 \
    --backend-service=squid-map-backend-service --subnet=subnet-$REGION-192 \
  1. Acquire the ILB IP
gcloud compute forwarding-rules describe   squid-ilb --region $REGION --format="value(IPAddress)"

In my case it was

Configure Test Host

The following VM will run in the same network which we will use to test

gcloud compute firewall-rules create allow-temp-squid-ssh-all --direction=INGRESS --priority=1000 --network=custom-network1  --target-tags bastion --action=ALLOW --rules=tcp:22 --source-ranges=

gcloud beta compute instances create bastion-1 --subnet=subnet-us-central1-192 --no-service-account --no-scopes --tags=bastion --image-family=debian-9 --image-project=debian-cloud


If all goes well, you should see two instances running in the MIG:


if so, ssh to the test host, then

  1. Check direct access:
$ curl -vk -o /dev/null -s    -w "%{http_code}\n"   -L https://cloud.google.com

* Rebuilt URL to: https://cloud.google.com/
*   Trying
*   Trying 2607:f8b0:4001:c03::71...
* Immediate connect fail for 2607:f8b0:4001:c03::71: Network is unreachable
*   Trying 2607:f8b0:4001:c03::71...

THis should fail since we prohibited direct access via firwall rule

  1. Check access to an allowed site

Export the ILB IP as PROXY_IP

export PROXY_IP=
curl -vk -o /dev/null -s -x $PROXY_IP:3128   -w "%{http_code}\n"   -L https://cloud.google.com/kubernetes-engine/docs/tutorials/istio-on-gke

The 403 is expected because we have that url in our ‘deny’ list filter_list.txt:

  1. Access site that is allowed
$ curl -sk -o /dev/null -s -x $PROXY_IP:3128   -w "%{http_code}\n"   -L https://cloud.google.com/kubernetes-engine/docs

The URL above isn’t blocked so we see the 200

  1. Inspect the SSL certificates returned:

Since we are intercepting ssl traffic, we expect the Squid Proxy to sign a certificate on demand

Note the Certificate Issuer in the trace below. Thie issuer is CN=MyCA and yet the subject CN is cloud.google.com. ssl_crtd downloaded cloud.google.com’s public certificate and generated one by itself to present back.

For another example, see

$ curl -vk -o /dev/null -s -x $PROXY_IP:3128   -w "%{http_code}\n"   -L https://cloud.google.com/
*   Trying

* Connected to (nil) ( port 3128 (#0)
* Establish HTTP proxy tunnel to cloud.google.com:443
> CONNECT cloud.google.com:443 HTTP/1.1
> Host: cloud.google.com:443
> User-Agent: curl/7.52.1
> Proxy-Connection: Keep-Alive
< HTTP/1.1 200 Connection established
* Proxy replied OK to CONNECT request         <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
* ALPN, offering h2
* ALPN, offering http/1.1
* Cipher selection: ALL:!EXPORT:!EXPORT40:!EXPORT56:!aNULL:!LOW:!RC4:@STRENGTH
* successfully set certificate verify locations:
*   CAfile: /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
  CApath: /etc/ssl/certs

* ALPN, server did not agree to a protocol
* Server certificate:
*  subject: CN=cloud.google.com
*  start date: Dec  6 13:24:37 2019 GMT
*  expire date: Jul 28 13:24:37 2021 GMT
*  issuer: C=US; ST=California; L=Mountain View; O=Google; OU=Enterprise; CN=MyCA     <<<<<<<<<<<<<

> GET / HTTP/1.1
> Host: cloud.google.com
> User-Agent: curl/7.52.1
> Accept: */*

< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< Content-Language: en
< Expires: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 01:14:12 GMT
< Vary: Accept-Language
< Last-Modified: Mon, 09 Dec 2019 05:33:11 GMT
< X-XSS-Protection: 0
< Cache-Control: public, must-revalidate, max-age=3600
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
< X-Cloud-Trace-Context: 393e649ca6c08bfbe437ecbe7d772f19
< Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:14:12 GMT
< Server: Google Frontend
< Content-Length: 247856
< X-Cache: MISS from squid.yourdomain.com           <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
< Via: 1.1 squid.yourdomain.com (squid/4.9)         <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  1. Access site that bypasse3s ssl interception

The configuration file nobumpSites.txt simply inpsects the SNI data in the traffic without inspecting the payload transmitted itself. Since this is a type of a passthrough, we should see the actual SSL certificate from a site like wellsfargo.com

$ curl -vk -o /dev/null -s -x   -w "%{http_code}\n"   -L https://www.wellsfargo.com/

* ALPN, server did not agree to a protocol
* Server certificate:
*  subject: businessCategory=Private Organization; jurisdictionC=US; jurisdictionST=Delaware; serialNumber=251212; C=US; ST=California; L=San Francisco; O=Wells Fargo & Company; OU=DCG-PSG; CN=www.wellsfargo.com   
*  start date: Feb  8 00:00:00 2019 GMT
*  expire date: Feb  8 12:00:00 2021 GMT
*  issuer: C=US; O=DigiCert Inc; CN=DigiCert Global CA G2  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
*  SSL certificate verify ok.

> GET / HTTP/1.1
> Host: www.wellsfargo.com
> User-Agent: curl/7.52.1
> Accept: */*

< HTTP/1.1 200 
< Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000;includeSubDomains
< X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
< X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
< X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
< Cache-Control: no-cache, max-age=0, must-revalidate, no-store
< Pragma: no-cache
< expires: -1
< Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
< Content-Length: 60344
< Vary: Accept-Encoding
< Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2019 14:54:13 GMT
< Server: Server



Each VM emits squid access logs as a structured log to cloud logging:


At the time of writing, the GPC load balancer healthchecks sends requests to the serving port and those adds a lot of noise into the logs that i have yet to filter out (if you know, LMK)…

Refreshing configuration file.

The configuration file for the allow/deny URLs filter_list.txt is periodically downloaded from GCS. If you update the entries in that file and upload to GCS, the configartion has a cron that downloads the file and if its modified from the existing verison, restarts the ssl_crtd daemon. This means every 5 minutes you can update the list to allow/deny url.

As of 12/12/19, the squid_conf.https_proxy and nobumpSites.txt is statc.

Certificate distribution

Each client that connects to the proxy must trust the CA that signed squid’s certificate. You can use your own CA and distribute that to the clients that access it and even load it to the default trust store (on unix). YOu also have to confgure each client to use the http_proxy directive (either in code or via env-var).


The example contained within this repo uses pyicap. You are free to reimplement it in go-icap or any other language that is supported


Nothing new, this is really, really old tech….Frankly, its rare full SSL interception takes place. If you decide to implement this setup, please carefully review why you are doing this and secure the certificates and network…DO NOT allow SSH access to the proxies.


gcloud compute forwarding-rules delete squid-ilb --region $REGION -q
gcloud compute backend-services delete squid-map-backend-service --region $REGION -q
gcloud compute instance-groups managed delete  squid-central-ig --zone=$ZONE -q
gcloud compute health-checks delete tcp hc-tcp-3128 -q
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete allow-squid -q 
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete firewall-rules-squid-allow-hc -q
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete disable-https-egress -q
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete allow-https-egress -q

(if you setup a bastion)
gcloud compute instances delete bastion-1 -q
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete allow-temp-squid-ssh-all -q

gcloud compute instance-templates delete squid-template  -q

gcloud compute routers nats delete nat-config --router=nat-router --region=$REGION  -q 
gcloud compute routers delete nat-router -q
gcloud compute networks delete custom-network1 -q
gcloud compute networks subnets delete subnet-$REGION-192 --region=$REGION -q

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