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How to Secure Gaim Instant Messenger traffic at Work with SecureCRT and SSH

Most people realize by now that using instant messaging from work can be easily tracked and logged. If you have access to an SSH server anywhere (mine is at my house) then you can setup a quick SOCKS proxy to forward all of your traffic through your home SSH server, and your employer won’t even know that you are chatting by monitoring the network.

This HowTo assumes that you already have an SSH server and know how to connect to it. First, you will go into the Options \ Session Options menu panel and click on SSH forwarding. Click the Add button, and you should fill in the dialog like this:

You can name the connection whatever you want, and you are free to use a different port. The key thing that you will need to do is check the Dynamic forwarding using SOCKS 4 or 5 checkbox.

Now we’ll go over to the Gaim Tools \ Preferences dialog, and select a proxy type of SOCKS 5 (or 4)

Use localhost in the host field, and 7070 in the port field ( or whatever you chose before)

Restart your SecureCRT session, and then restart Gaim. You should now be logged in via the secure SSH tunnel.

To test it out and prove that you are going through the tunnel, you can disconnect your SecureCRT session. You should immediately see the disconnected dialog in Gaim.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/10/06

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