Using your Citrix NetScaler for Microsoft IIS or Apache http server header obfuscation


Masking the web server software in your http header/http server banner (server header obfuscation) is an important layer of security you might want to implement since it can be accomplished so easily on a Netscaler. It’s a layer of security you can add to prevent someone from telling what kind of web server you are running, such as Microsoft IIS or Apache, though it is still quite possible to figure out depending on your environment and application so don’t rely on it too much. The thought is an attacker scans for certain versions of a web server that have known vulnerabilities and begins running attacks for that specific web server software to see if those vulnerabilities have been patched or not. They can do this programmatically so changing the header to say something else is a layer of security that can prevent them from easily figuring out what your web environment infrastructure is like.

You will notice that Chase.com uses “JPMC1.0”:

Amazon.com uses just “Server”:

Google.com uses “gws”:

This can be done very easily using rewrite policies on the Netscaler. Catherine Hampton wrote a great article over at the Citrix Developer Network on how to do this:


And if you want to read more about web server fingerprinting, check Net-square’s website and their httprint tool:


Saumil Shah at Net-square wrote an excellent and very thorough article on HTTP fingerprinting here:


About Jason Samuel

Jason Samuel lives in Houston, TX with a primary focus on strategic advisory and architecture of end-user computing, security, enterprise mobility, virtualization, and cloud technologies from Citrix, Microsoft, & VMware. He also has an extensive background in web architecture and networking over his 20+ year career in IT. He is an Author, Speaker, and Local User Group Community Leader. He is certified in several technologies and is 1 of 63 people globally that is a recipient of the prestigious Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) award. He is 1 of 42 people in the world that has been awarded as a VMware EUC Champion and VMware vExpert. He is a featured author on DABCC which provides the latest IT Community News on Cloud, Data Center, Desktop, Mobility, Security, Storage, & Virtualization. In his spare time Jason enjoys writing how-to articles and evangelizing the technologies he works with. Disclaimer: The content and opinions expressed in articles and posts are his own and are by no means associated with his employer.

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