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ssh tunnel for web traffic from WiFi Hotspot

Just got my tunnel into my OpenWRT (running White Russian) router fixed so when I'm at a WiFi Hotspot or hotel I can securely tunnel through to my home router and jump off to the Internet from there.

I was making it WAY too hard trying to set up an OpenVPN server on an OpenWRT router, and an OpenVPN client on my laptop, building/signing/distributing certificates, using NTP servers to match time, etc, etc.   Bottom line is OpenVPN may be great between routers, but with a OpenWRT server and an Ubuntu client, I never got it to work.   

Turns out that all you need to do is put up a ssh server on your router at home (OpenWRT uses Dropbear).  Then, if you can ssh into your server from someplace, you can simply configure your browser to use that ssh tunnel as a proxy to reroute your browser traffic.  Works with Putty on Windows as well, but that is for N00bs!  If you are interested, Instructions are below, and it works like a champ for me (although, I haven't tried the Putty side).

First, get a Linksys WRT54GL router (Or WRT54G Version 4 or earlier, see for details), and install OpenWRT (it runs better than the default Linksys OS anyway, installing OpenWRT will be worth your while), the OpenWRT site walks you through the installation.  

Next, ensure that you have installed an ssh server on your router (Dropbear on OpenWRT running White Russian)---that's it!

To set up an ssh tunnel into your OpenWRT Box, all you have to do is the following:

ssh -D 9999 -C

The -D switch - Specifies a local “dynamic” application-level port forwarding. We are also adding the -C switch for compression.

Here are the PuTTY Instructions

Next, put these settings into Firefox.

Firefox> Edit> Preferences> Advanced tab> Network tab> Settings button.

Select Manual proxy configuration
SOCKS Host: localhost Port: 9999
No Proxy for: localhost,

Bring up your browser, and BANG!  You'll be hitting the Internet from your home IP address, no matter where you are.  A side benefit is that you can ssh into your home network to do stuff if you want to! 


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