Shielding your browsing activities from the watchdogs

Nowadays, anything you do in the digital world is being tracked by someone. Either government agencies or the bad guys are always watching you. It’s now easy to shield your activities from these watchdogs.

Prerequisite:

  1. Amazon Linux Instance
  2. Putty

Introduction:

SOCKS or Secure Socket is a protocol that uses SSH to tunnel your traffic from a different network. Now, if you are aware of TOR, then you must be thinking, why not use TOR and cut down the hassle. TOR although is a good alternative, but when you are concern about the privacy of your data, it is always better that you take control of the things. It’s easier to manage if you host your own server. If you have SSH enable, no another setting is required to enable SOCKS. So, let’s get started.

Shielding your activity:

So, shielding your activity is divided into two parts. First, we shall configure our Putty as SOCKS Proxy server. Secondly, we shall configure our browser to use putty as the SOCKS Proxy server. Remember, while you are using SOCKS proxy, your SSH Client, putty in our case, should be connected to the server.

Configuring Putty

Open Putty, and in the left-hand side menu, navigate to “Connections > SSH > Tunnels”. Make sure you add an unused port from your system as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Figure 1: Adding a dynamic tunnel port
Figure 1: Adding a dynamic tunnel port
Figure 2: Adding a dynamic tunnel port
Figure 2: Adding a dynamic tunnel port

Navigate to SSH > Data in the left-hand side menu. Enter your server’s username in ‘Auto-login username’ as illustrated in Figure 3

Figure 3: Adding your server login name
Figure 3: Adding your server login name

Navigate to Connection > SSH > Auth in the left-hand side menu. Make sure you don’t click on the small plus besides Auth. Add your private key file to “Private key file for authentication” as shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: Adding your SSH private key authentication file
Figure 4: Adding your SSH private key authentication file

Now in the left-hand side menu, navigate to session and enter your amazon host information as shown in figure 5

Figure 5: Add host details and save
Figure 5: Add host details and save

Once Saved, Click on Open and you should see a terminal as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Terminal after successful login
Figure 6: Terminal after successful login

Minimize the terminal

Browser Configuration

For our demo, we would be using Mozilla Firefox. You are free to use any browser that you are comfortable with. Open the Options in Firefox. Navigate to Advance on the right panel > Network and click on Settings.

Figure 7: Advance Network Options in Mozilla Firefox
Figure 7: Advance Network Options in Mozilla Firefox

In Connection Settings, use “Manual proxy configurations” and in SOCKS Proxy add host as “127.0.0.1” and port as “1234”, which we had set in the Putty configurations.

Figure 8: Configure SOCKS Proxy Settings
Figure 8: Configure SOCKS Proxy Settings

You can now see that you are connected to Amazon’s network via SOCKS proxy.

Figure 9: Now connected via Amazon's network
Figure 9: Now connected via Amazon’s network

 

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