Privacy and anonymity, these two does not exist when you’re connected to the internet. Yes, almost all of the internet users think that their actions/history is not recorded. The sad truth is, every single data that passes through your ISP’s cables is recorded. Now, there are still people thinking they can be anonymous, if they’re behind proxies etc. I myself is one of those people, but that was 2 years ago.
I used to be behind SOCKS proxies, and I thought I can do whatever I want. But since they are highly anonymous, SOCKS proxies are uber slow. And then, I was introduced to SSH Tunneling.
What’s the use?
Yes, you might notice, I said privacy and anonymity doesn’t exist in the internet. But now, we are more concerned about the other end of the connection. Since the main purpose of this, is to hide our true geographic information from the other end.
Another reason, is bypassing restrictions on the current network. Using proxies or tunnels, you can access restricted websites and protocols. One example is on school. In our university, there are loads of restricted websites, mostly social networking, and even proxy providers. Though most restricted websites can be accessed with SSL, not all provides encryption, so a tunnel is much more preferable.
Advantages of SSH Tunnels
To summarize, SSH Tunnels are much more secure and faster. And unlike proxies, you have access to the actual server, so you have control over the logs, etc.
How is it done?
Before going to the actual procedures, you must first have the following requirements.
- SSH Account
Yes, you need a SSH Account on a remote web server. Luckily for me, my good friend Andy allowed me to have a space on his VPS, and I have my own account there.
So the first thing you need to do is to fire up putty.
Enter the server’s host address and the assigned SSH port (22 is the default).
Then, on the left side, go to Connection -> SSH -> Tunnels. Add a new forwarded port, I suggest those above 1024, and Click the Dynamic radio button. Then click add. Open the session, login, and you’re done.
Now that we have our set up, we can use this just like a regular SOCKS proxy.
Host: 127.0.0.1 Port: 8080 (or whichever port you forwarded)
You can verify your connection by visiting websites that tells your IP. An example is: whatsmyip.
If you have problems or clarifications about this topic, feel free to comment.