Do you ever find yourself using a public wireless network and are worried about some hacker eavesdropping on your web traffic? Luckily you can encrypt all of your surfing the next time you go to a coffee shop or hotel. All you need is a server that you can remotely ssh into. It could be a server at your university or just one you have at home.


Steps for using you Mac computer:

1. Open up the Terminal application. You can search for “Terminal” using Spotlight if you cannot find it. It can also be found in your Applications folder: Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

There is a command line application called SSH which stands for secure shell. It uses cryptography for secure network communication. The application is configured to communicate using port 22 and establishes an encrypted connection.

2. Log into a your server using the -D argument to specify the port.

ssh -D 1080 username@hostname

You have to have access to server with a username and password. If you have a Linux server or OS X server at home, then you are covered. Many universities provide Linux servers for their students.

3. Using Firefox, open Preferences -> Network -> Settings and select Manual proxy configuration. You can also use Chrome and configure the proxy settings.

Proxy Configuration

4. Enter “” for the “SOCKS Host:” tab and “1080” for the “Port:" tab.

5. Click “OK”

6. If you successfully logged into your server and configured your proxy you can now go online. You will now be able to securely browse the internet. All of your web traffic will be tunneled through ssh, which establishes a secure connection to the remote server.

After you leave the public network and want to use internet on a private network (like form home), you will need to select “No proxy” reverting back to your original settings.