Wireless Access Point with transparent Squid and SquidGuard proxy

A wireless access point with transparent Squid and SquidGuard proxy.

Last update: 2021.03.28

In a previous project, I described how to set up a configurable web filter based on Privoxy, Squid and SquidGuard to filter out unwanted content on the web.

Here, we will see how to turn the r-pi as a wireless access point with transparent HTTP/HTTPS proxy. “Transparent” means that anyone connecting to the wifi will have all traffic automatically redirected through the proxy server and content will be filtered.

This method is more difficult to circumvent as all the parameters are set on the server side and not on the client side. But there are some pros and cons that we will explore further below.

Step 1: Configuring the access point host software (Hostapd)

First, update the system

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Install Hostapd

sudo apt-get install hostapd

Edit the dhcpcd configuration file

sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

Add the following lines at the end.

interface wlan0
static ip_address=
nohook wpa_supplicant

Restart the dhcpcd daemon

sudo service dhcpcd restart

Edit the dhcpcd configuration file

sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf

Add the following lines at the end.

# Configuration for Wi-Fi Access Point

Restart dnsmasq

sudo service dnsmasq restart

Edit the hostapd configuration file

sudo nano /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

This is my configuration. You can simply copy-paste, but don’t forget to rename the ssid and to set a password between 8 and 64 characters.

#a = IEEE 802.11a (5 GHz)
#b = IEEE 802.11b (2.4 GHz)
#g = IEEE 802.11g (2.4 GHz)


Open the following file

sudo nano /etc/default/hostapd

Find #DAEMON_CONF and replace with


Enable and start hostapd

sudo systemctl unmask hostapd
sudo systemctl enable hostapd
sudo systemctl start hostapd

Check status to be sure all is working

sudo systemctl status hostapd
sudo systemctl status dnsmasq

Edit /etc/sysctl.conf

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

and uncomment this line


After reboot, you should be able to see and connect to your new access point, look for the ssid name that you have used in the hostapd.conf file. You will need to add an iptable masquerade rule to access the Internet

sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE -m comment --comment "masquerade lan->wan"

If you have UFW enabled, you may want to add the rule below to allow all internal traffic on

sudo ufw allow from

Note At this point the iptable rule is not saved and will be lost after reboot. We will see later how to permanently apply iptable rules.


Step 2: Configuring Squid as transparent HTTP+HTTPS Proxy with iptables

First thing to do here is to configure squid with SSL-TLS supprt. The original distribution does not come with what we need. We will have to build Squid from the source with the necessary arguments. You may have Squid already installed, no worries as it will be replaced.

First, we need to install a few additional packages

sudo apt-get install dpkg-dev libldap2-dev libpam0g-dev libdb-dev cdbs libsasl2-dev debhelper libcppunit-dev libkrb5-dev comerr-dev libcap2-dev libecap3-dev libexpat1-dev libxml2-dev autotools-dev libltdl-dev pkg-config libnetfilter-conntrack-dev nettle-dev libgnutls28-dev libssl1.0-dev build-essential openssl

Now, we need to get the source package so we can build it with the following missing arguments enabled: –enable-ssl –enable-ssl-crtd –with-openssl. To do that, modify the source.list

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Uncomment the line below

deb-src buster main contrib non-free rpi

then update and get the Squid source package

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get source squid

Change directory. Make sure you have the same version, if not, modify as required.

cd  squid-4.6


sudo nano debian/rules

Look for –enable-ecap / and add the missing arguments right below

--enable-ssl --enable-ssl-crtd --with-openssl \


sudo nano debian/control

Look for , nettle-dev and add the following right beolw

, libssl1.0-dev

Now, build your Squid

sudo dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -b

Now you can have a beer or a coffee, the process takes some time.

When done, move out of the Squid directory

cd ..

We need two only these two packages: quid_4.6-1+deb10u5_armhf.deb and squid-common_4.6-1+deb10u5_all.deb

sudo dpkg -i squid_4.6-1+deb10u5_armhf.deb squid-common_4.6-1+deb10u5_all.deb


sudo apt-get install -f

Now let’s do a quick check

squid -v

And make sure the arguments that we have added are in place

Squid Cache: Version 4.6
Service Name: squid
Raspbian linux

This binary uses OpenSSL 1.0.2q  20 Nov 2018. For legal restrictions on distribution see

...'--enable-ssl' '--enable-ssl-crtd' '--with-openssl' ...

Now, we will generate a certificate. In

cd /etc/squid

create a new directlory

sudo mkdir ssl_cert

Change permission

sudo chmod 700 ssl_cert/

As super user

sudo su

Change directory

cd ssl_cert

Now we can create the certificate with the following command

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -sha256 -days 365 -nodes -x509 -extensions v3_ca -keyout squid_ssl.pem -out squid_ssl.pem

We will also create a certificate that we will later import in the browser on the client side

openssl x509 -in squid_ssl.pem -outform DER -out squid_ssl.der

This last certificate will be needed on the client machine (a computer or laptop - I haven’t try with a mobile phone). I am using scp to export the file, but you can use any method you like

scp squid_ssl.der

Now we generate the ssl_db with the following command

/usr/lib/squid/security_file_certgen -c -s /var/lib/ssl_db -M 4MB

Okay, let’s move out of the directory

cd ..

And change the user : group

chown -R proxy:proxy ssl_cert
chown -R proxy:proxy /var/lib/ssl_db

then exit super user mode


Now, we need to edit the Squid configuration file

sudo nano /etc/squid/squid.conf

Under acl localnet src # Home network add the following line

acl localnet src  # Home network
acl localnet src  # Wi-Fi Access Point network

Then, under http_port 3128 and add the following

http_port 3128
http_port 8080 intercept
https_port 3129 intercept ssl-bump \
        cert=/etc/squid/ssl_cert/squid_ssl.pem \
        generate-host-certificates=on dynamic_cert_mem_cache_size=4MB

sslcrtd_program /usr/lib/squid/security_file_certgen -s /var/lib/ssl_db -M 4MB
acl step1 at_step SslBump1
ssl_bump peek step1
ssl_bump bump all
ssl_bump splice all

If you have chained Squid with Privoxy you will have problems. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this project Privoxy does not handle HTTPS encripted traffic (version 3.0.28). So we are going to comment the lines related to Privoxy.

#cache_peer parent 8118 0 default no-query no-digest
#acl ftp proto FTP
#always_direct allow ftp
#never_direct allow all
#cache_effective_group proxy

Restart Squid

sudo service squid restart

Check Squid status to make sure all went well

sudo service squid status

So, no more Privoxy for the time being, but we might be able to bring it back with a newer version. This will be in another project. Note that you can use Privoxy, but only for the HTTP pages, which is not very useful as all HTTPS pages will show an error message.

Now the iptables

Add a Masquerade rule to allow Internet access

sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE -m comment --comment "masquerade lan->wan"

Add Rules to allow ports 8080 and 3129

sudo iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -p tcp --dport 8080 -m comment --comment "squid transparent http proxy"
sudo iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -p tcp --dport 3129 -m comment --comment "squid transparent https proxy"

Optionally add more rules to allow other ports. For example the Dropbox LAN sync

sudo iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -p tcp --dport 17500 -m comment --comment "dropbox lan sync"

Add Rules to redirect traffic. Here, we have the wlan0 (WiFi) traffic on and the eth0 destination on depending on your configuration

sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -s -p tcp --dport 80 -m comment --comment "squid transparent http proxy" -j DNAT --to-destination
sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -s -p tcp --dport 443 -m comment --comment "squid transparent https proxy" -j DNAT --to-destination

Save the iptable rules

sudo sh -c "iptables-save > /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat"

Edit /etc/rc.local

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Add the line below just above “exit 0” to install iptable rules on boot

iptables-restore < /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat

You can check your iptable rules with the following commands

sudo iptables -t nat -L
sudo iptables -L

Upload the client certificate on your browser

Remember that we have generated a certificate that we need to upload on the client’s browser to avoid a security warning. Now, if you try to go on the google page (or any other), you should see an error warning like this one


Go to the preference in your browser and look for “view certificates” under Security/Privacy. In FireFox, it looks like this


Import your certificate.


Check the box corresponding to the web site authentication. You can also view the cert detail info.


On a Mac, you can import and validate the certificate in the Keycahin Access app. If you don’t do that, Mail and other app will complain about the certificate being not reliable. You can also import and validate your certificate on an iPad or iPhone.


That’s it! At this point, if you refresh your browser, you should have access to Internet from your r-pi WiFi access point, and all traffic should be filtered by Squid (and SquidGuard if you are coming from the previous project). You do not need to configure your browser to point to the proxy as all settings are done on the r-pi itself.

Check the traffic on the squid access log

sudo tail -f /var/log/squid/access.log | ccze

Now, if you have set up you r-pi with both Squid and SquidGuard as developped in another project, when trying to access a forbdiden website, SquidGuard will return the following:


Voilà! That was fun to do. Hope you enjoyed. Please share comments in the chat box below. Thanks!


der cert