The management on my previous company decided to block facebook on all computers and therefore the system administrators installed Squid proxy and blocked the social media website Facebook router wide. However, Squid proxy acts weird if not configured properly and I have had some issues with it, even doing normal tasks. For example, uploading a file which has the keyword “facebook.com” failed and It took me many hours to find out that it is not the remote ftp server’s issue, but the firewall’s issue here.
I usually spend half an hour time every day on facebook and post some status messages that’s all. Ignoring this on work time was not a big deal for me. More over, I had access to facebook via Facebook Mobile application installed on my mobile handset and my connection provider used to provide access to facebook free of cost.
It was when I had to see something on facebook urgently and I found it impossible to access facebook for a couple of minutes and I had to contact the system administrators with the project name and description I had been working for getting my ip whitelisted from the firewall to access social networking sites. This process will take at least a day as it involves getting approval from the management team.
I tried web based proxy scripts such as anonymouse.org but no luck. Later I found a trick using which we will be able to access facebook through another IP.
1. Your computer must be using Linux operating system. For Windows OS, this trick is possible with the help of third party software which I haven’t tried yet.
2. You must have ssh access to a remote server.
As I was using Ubuntu, this is possible with ‘ssh’ command and adding a parameter ‘-D’ with the port number will bind the connection to the local ip address, which will act as a proxy server. The only modification required is to configure the firefox/opera/chrome to connect through that proxy instead of direct connection
ssh -D 9999 username@remote_server
For example, your username on that a remote server is “james”, then open the ssh console and type
[bash]ssh -D 9999 james@serverip[/bash]
This will open a ssh connection to the remote server. You can then minimize the console window. Then goto FireFox -> Preference -> Advanced -> Network – > Settings (Configure how Firefox connects to the internet).
On the options page, select SOCKS v5 and type “127.0.0.1” as the host/ip address and port “9999”. Save the preference and try accessing http://cmyip.com. Cmyip.com will show that your ip address is 192.168.1.100 (In this case) and you should be able to access facebook now!
One thing you want to note here that, all the traffic from your computer will now go through the remote server. We don’t want it, do we ? We want only traffic to facebook.com go through this proxy site so that all other sites will get your original ip instead of the remote server ip address.
Luckly, there is a plugin for Firefox that can do this trick, called FoxProxy which is of course, free to download. Once you downloaded and installed foxproxy, add a new rule for *.facebook.com/*
For more information about configuring Foxproxy, please refer this link. Make sure you select Socks 5 and enter 127.0.0.1 as host and port 9999 in the proxy configuration. This plugin will help you to use different proxies for different websites. Cool na ?
Browsing facebook and connecting with old and new friends through facebook is really a good thing. However spending too much time on facebook during working hours is really a bad idea which will reduce company’s productivity and your interest in doing real works. However, facebook marketing has its own place and importance. You should have a control on how many hours you are spending on social networking sites.
By the way, use this at your own risk.