A proxy is an application that “breaks” the connection between client and server. The proxy accepts certain types of traffic entering or leaving a network and processes it and forwards it. This effectively closes the straight path between the internal and external networks making it more difficult for an attacker to obtain internal addresses and other details of the organization’s internal network. Proxy servers are available for common Internet services; for example, a Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) proxy used for Web access, and a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) proxy used for email.
SOURCE: SP 800-44; CNSSI-4009