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VPN using SSH and Firefox (SOCKS5) to surf through your university or work network

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Most Norwegian students are fortunate to have access to a wealth of academic information through their univeristy network. This includes dictionaries, e-books and journals.

As a student at NTNU I also have this access, but as I’m almost never actually on campus i need an easy way to access them outside the university campus.

What follows is an easy way to access your university or work network and browse the internet through it using OpenSSH and Firefox. It can also be used as a weak proxy solution. You will have to have SSH access to your the network you want to browse through.

This is meant for you fortunate people who use Ubuntu Linux or a similar Linux distribution. If you’re a Windows user, you can see my Buzz post about the topic for instructions.

Establish your VPN

  1. Open a terminal window. Type in: ssh -D 9999 ntnu-username@login.stud.ntnu.no
    (9999 is the port Firefox is connecting to, other available ports may be used.)
    Replace “ntnu-username” with your own username.
  2. [Enter]
  3. Type in your password and push [Enter]
  4. Let the terminal window stay open. ssh should be running as long as you need your VPN.

Configure Firefox

  1. Start Firefox
  2. Go to Edit > Settings > Advanced > Network > Settings
  3. Choose “Manual proxy settings”
  4. In the field for SOCKS you write: localhost
  5. In the field for port to the right you write: 9999
  6. Ok, save, and so on. Now you should be set to surf through your VPN. Only in Firefox though.
  7. Good luck! Remember that if the VPN channel isn’t active, you wont be able to browse the internet in Firefox without reversing the changes you did to the connection settings.
The proxy configuration dialog window in Firefox

The proxy configuration dialog window in Firefox.

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