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Question:
What is SOCKS?

Answer:
SOCKS is a networking proxy protocol that enables hosts on one side of a SOCKS server to gain full access to hosts on the other side of the SOCKS server without requiring direct IP-reachability. SOCKS is often used as a network firewall, redirecting connection requests from hosts on opposite sides of a SOCKS server. The SOCKS server authenticates and authorizes requests, establishes a proxy connection, and relays data between hosts.

There are two major versions of SOCKS:
SOCKSv4 and SOCKSv5.

For more information, see:
SOCKS Overview
SOCKS FAQ

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