Secret Socks

Version: 1.0.2 || Release Date: 2010-10-09 || License: Freeware App Owner: julk

This is a front-end graphical interface for using SSH as a secure SOCKS proxy, on Mac OS X. It is meant mainly for users who don't like using the command line.

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.

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1 Opinion

This app doesn't seem to read SSH keys when trying to connect. This makes it useless for servers that require key authentication (i.e., all the servers I admin). This has been noted on the author's Web page for the program and has not even garnered so much as an acknowledgement. It does not appear that the developer cares about this issue, which is rather sad.