Online proxies are a useful way to get around restrictive firewalls that block you from accessing parts of the internet. Maybe your corporate environment has rules against accessing sites like GMail from work, and you need to find out what time to pick up your kids after work. Or maybe you live in a country that censors all foreign media, and you need to upload a video recording to YouTube. Proxies can help with that.
Chances are, you do not want your boss or government to be able to spy on what you do online. That's why it is important to use encryption with your proxy connection. An SSH SOCKS proxy is perfect for that. However, some environments have deep packet inspection (DPI) equipment in place that blocks or throttles all encrypted online communications, rendering your secure SSH useless. We know that this is being done in Iran, for instance.
But there is still hope. Security pro Bruce Leidl has written a patch for the widely-used OpenSSH program. This patch makes the encrypted connection undetectable to DPI. Please see Bruce's documentation for details on how it works. With this new patch, you can securely connect to a SOCKS proxy server without the online watchdogs knowing, or being able to target you for throttling. Hence the name Secret Socks.
(Note that although this type of proxy is secure, it is still a single-hop proxy, meaning that you have to trust the person running the proxy server. A multiple-hop solution like Tor provides superior security and anonymity because even the person running the relay node you connect to has no way of knowing what you are doing. At the moment, Tor still works in Iran, but may be throttled, making it seem much slower than normal there.)
What is new in this release:
- FIXED: There was an error that prevented the system network settings from updating automatically in Snow Leopard.
- FIXED: Secret Socks could not update network settings for interfaces besides AirPort.
- NEW: Slimmer user interface. Config settings and status screen can be hidden in a drawer.
- NEW: Password field has its own drawer. (Just hit enter, type the password, and hit enter again.)
- NEW: Menu interface.