March 30, 2012
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Need to surf securely at work, or on a public wifi? Here's the poor man's vpn. Using an OpenSSH connection to your host machine with the dynamic "-D" flag, you can create a SOCKS proxy for a web browser on another machine. On a Windows machine, you'll need to use Putty to get your ssh connection.
Here's the connection:
ssh -D port user@hostmachine
Once you connect via ssh to your host, configure Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy server. (Options>Advanced>Network>Connections)
For even more security, you can also configure Firefox to route all its DNS requests through the same tunnel. From Firefox's address bar, type "about:config" for "advanced" settings, then look for the key "network.proxy.socks_remote_dns" and set it to true by double-clicking. Done! All your surfing will tunnel through your host machine.
To verify that everything's working, point Firefox here to verify the IP address matches that of the host machine.