I recently discovered that OpenSSH has a built in SOCKS proxy. This is really handy for browsing the net from another computer. In my situation I need access to sites like MathSciNet and JSTOR. My university has a subscription so I need to appear to be browsing the net from a certain IP address.

From my home computer I can do:

$ ssh -ND 9999 carlo@my-uni-computer

(after logging in no shell is given due to the -N option)

Then in Firefox I set the proxy to use SOCKS host localhost at port 9999. That’s it. Firefox plugins like FoxyProxy or SwitchProxy make switching the proxy setting quick and easy.

You can also use this to browse securely from a public wifi access point, avoid stupid web proxies, etc.