January 15, 2018

JSTOR Reports Progress On Open Proxy Issue

By LJ Staff

It’s amazing what a little awareness can do, say JSTOR officials. After detecting an organized effort to exploit open proxy servers to illegally access content from the JSTOR databases, JSTOR officials report that many of the open proxies that once offered backdoors into university library collections have been closed. Proxy servers allow computers to pass through other authenticated computers to gain access to secure networks. Open proxies are sometimes used to provide remote access to faculty and students. However, when such proxies are inadvertently left open and unguarded they are vulnerable to exploitation. JSTOR president Kevin Guthrie said he couldn’t say whether JSTOR’s efforts in publicizing the threat posed by open proxies were responsible for the closure of many of these unmonitored open proxies. ‘It’s very hard to come to any conclusion about cause and effect.’ he noted, ‘But a lot of librarians and others contacted us and took the issue very seriously. I’m very grateful for how supportive people have been. There’s no question that people are taking steps.’