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SSH, SOCKS proxies, and Firefox

December 8th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

This tip is courtesy of the Ubuntu Blog, but I just discovered it also works perfectly well in OS X and with some hot Putty action you could probably even pull it off with Windows. I’m writing this using it now.

A coworker of mine recently came down with some kind of outer space soul sucking virus and was ordered by his doctor to take a week off. Any hardcore geek will tell you that automatically means a lot of potential keyboard time, so he decided to setup a remote connection to the work network.

Being security-minded is important in the hosting world (it should be more important everywhere else) and so the inevitable question arose as to how he could best pull this off. Like an increasing number of laptop owners he also uses open wireless networks a lot (so do I) and you really shouldn’t be using open wireless with any password or data you really care about.

VPN’s work well for remote connections but can occasionally be a pain to set up depending on how your company has theirs configured.

If you have a computer/server running Linux or any other variety of OpenSSH server which is connected to a more trustworthy network you can create a SOCKS proxy SSH connection to it using the following command:

ssh -D 9999 user@server

The -D creates the SOCKS proxy, 9999 is the port, and user@server is your user name on the server you are connecting to and its host name or IP address. Then just set Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy as localhost and set the port to 9999. Presto – instant secure web traffic.

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  1. December 8th, 2006 at 01:53 | #1

    Sure can do it with Putty in windows – have on occasion.

    Thank you for the link back 🙂

  2. December 10th, 2006 at 13:47 | #2

    This is an awesome tip. Most modern apps will support a SOCKS proxy, and getting it to work is simple as pie. With shared keys and a startup script of sorts, it could be completely automated as well.

  3. January 4th, 2007 at 00:40 | #3

    Good post this came in handy tonight.

  4. January 4th, 2007 at 20:20 | #4

    Care to share what you used it for? Just curious.

  5. March 27th, 2008 at 11:25 | #5

    I need socks 4 doe my internet connection.My browser is IE and i have found it very difficult to browse some site which have placed restrictions on my Ip .can you help with socks proxy to use.

  6. March 27th, 2008 at 11:29 | #6

    If you are using Windows you will need to download Putty and use it to create the connection. Then you can set the proxy in the Connection or Network settings in IE’s Internet Options.

    I cannot help you with a server that will run the other end of the connection though.

  1. February 20th, 2007 at 21:29 | #1
  2. March 21st, 2007 at 13:22 | #2
  3. June 16th, 2008 at 09:54 | #3