WPAD is a protocol that allows computers to automatically discover Web proxy configurations and is primarily used in networks where clients are only allowed to communicate to the outside world through a proxy – which is the case in most enterprises. To easily configure proxy settings for different types of applications which require an internet connection, WPAD, also known as “autoproxy”, was first implemented and promoted by Netscape® 2.0 in 19961 for Netscape Navigator® 2.0. The tool can apply to any system that supports proxy auto-discovery, like most browsers, operating systems and some applications not working from operating systems.
Warnings of security issues have been around for many years. These risks have been recognized in the security community for years, but for some reason been left largely ignored. In fact it is relatively easy to exploit WPAD. In basic terms, the security issue with the WPAD protocol revolves around the idea that whenever the protocol makes a request to a proxy, anyone else can create a service that answers that request and can practically impersonate the real web proxy (Man-in-the-Middle attack).