Private Firefox browsing using cloud

In a restaurant or an airport you might be using a public WiFi network. Even though most web service login procedures are protected with SSL (you can check the “https://” prefix), there are still plenty of websites that do not use HTTPS. So if you need privacy you can apply the procedure below.

Use a cloud instance as a secure SOCKS proxy server

You can use your SSH enabled Cloud instance as a proxy server. You can buy one from LeaseWeb :-). All browser traffic to your Cloud instance will be tunneled in the SSL secured SSH tunnel. To start the socks enabled tunnel you only have to issue the following command:

$ ssh -D 8080 user@cloud_instance

If you do not run Linux, but you run Windows, you can download Putty and run from the command prompt:

C:\Users\m.vanderschee> "c:\Program Files (x86)\PuTTY\putty.exe" -D 8080 user@cloud_instance

Where “cloud_instance” is the hostname or IP address of your cloud instance and “user” is the username on that machine (it is better not to use “root”). You need to go to: Firefox > Preferences > Advanced > Network > Settings… > Manual Proxy. The in the field “SOCKS Host” you enter “localhost” and Port “8080”. You can choose “SOCKS v5”, but do NOT check “Use this proxy server for all protocols”. Press “OK” and you are done.

Proxy your DNS requests

Since you don’t want to leak any information at all about your activity, you should also proxy you DNS requests. You can do this by  opening up “about:config” in Firefox and change the setting “network.proxy.socks_remote_dns” to “true”.

Quickly enable/disable the proxy

If you set your Firefox to use a proxy you might want to easily enable and disable the proxy. The QuickProxy Addon allows this. It shows a small green (proxy on) or red (proxy off) icon in the Add-on bar in the lower right corner of your Firefox window.

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