Surf Securely Using SSH
This is so easy, you’re gonna love it! Thanks Tyler Pedersen.
I’ve been using my laptop more frequently at wifi hotspots. Many web sites I visit encrypt traffic with SSL for authentication, but after that they send traffic in the clear which means the cookies that are used for authentication purposes are sent in the clear, so anyone with a sniffer within range of my laptop could easily intercept the traffic, steal my cookies and impersonate me on the web site. Not good! So, I went looking for a simple solution, and found a great article about using ssh for this purpose. Ya gotta love open source software 🙂
I’ll assume the following:
- You’ve used ssh before
- You have access to a remote host running sshd
Issue the following command on your local computer:
ssh -Nf email@example.com -D 1080
replace firstname.lastname@example.org with the appropriate information. Look at the man page for ssh, or read the article linked above for an explanation of the options.
The next step is to configure Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy you setup with the above command. I’m using Firefox 22.214.171.124 on Ubuntu 7.04 Linux.
Edit | Preferences | Advanced | Settings
Pulls up the following dialog:
Notice how I’ve switched from “Direct connection to the Internet” to “Manual proxy configuration”. I’ve also set the SOCKS Host to be ‘localhost’ and the port to be ‘1080’.
I can now surf and have encrypted traffic between my local computer and the remote host I ssh’d to. The traffic between my remote host and the destination web site will be unencrypted, but hopefully that traffic is harder to sniff without being detected.
At this point, I tested it out and everything worked fine. I then killed my local ssh process and Firefox complained about the connection being reset, so I knew it was in fact sending data over the ssh tunnel.
The final step is optional, but if you want to avoid having the bad guys detect your DNS requests (or possibly redirect them – d’oh!), you can configure Firefox to route DNS requests through the proxy.
about:configin the Firefox address bar.
- Look for network.proxy.socks_remote_dns and set the value to true
Is that easy or what? Thanks again Tyler.