Setting up a SSH Tunnel with Firefox HOWTO  
I'm now in China — I was invited to give a departmental seminar at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in China for some collaborative research related to CFDWARP. One big problem when visiting China is the Great Firewall preventing access to many popular websites (see an up to date list here). The Great Firewall has become more sophisticated recently and now succeeds not only in blocking most websites I use often (gmail, google drive, google search, facebook, etc) but also succeeds in blocking most VPN connections. The Open VPN that I had setup on my server for this purpose is blocked and is essentially useless. Nonetheless, I was able to get around the Great Firewall through a not-well-known-but-very-potent approach: ssh tunnelling.
This can be done as follows. In the UNIX shell, type:
ssh -D 8123 -f -C -q -N
Where “username” is the login ID and “” is the hostname of a UNIX machine running sshd. You can check that your ssh tunnel is working fine by typing the following:
ps aux | grep ssh
If the tunnel is successfully established, this should output one line with the following “ssh -D 8123 -f -C -q -N”. Then, open up firefox, click on the menu icon in the upper right (three horizontal bars), select preferences, search for “network”, click on “settings”, and do the following:
  Select “Manual proxy configuration”.
  For “SOCKS host”, enter “localhost”.
  For the SOCKS host port, enter “8123”.
  Select “SOCKS v5”.
  Select “Proxy DNS when using SOCKS v5”.
Click on OK. When opening pages in firefox, the DNS request and the http request will go undetected by the Great Firewall through the ssh tunnel and be processed by your server, which will send you back the packets. This way, you can browse the full net using firefox with no firewall restrictions.
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