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Today, I configured my browser to use a ssh/SOCKS5 proxy setup to keep my web traffic confidential even when browsing from insecure networks (e.g. a public WLAN hotspot). I was then thinking that it would be even better for my privacy to do the same for all applications that connect to the internet. I should note that I understand that SOCKS works on the application layer of the OSI model and that it would be the easiest to use a VPN if one wanted to tunnel all system traffic.

There are however many tools available that make it possible to proxy arbitrary applications through SOCKS. One of these tools is called socksify and its developers state that it is possible to use it globally, at least on some systems. However, they go on to note that:

You should not attempt this unless you know what you are doing, as it is a potentially dangerous operation.

(source)

What do they mean by that? What are the potential dangers of socksifying all applications on my system?

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Based on the surrounding text, it doesn't seem like they are warning you about potential security implications or bad practice, but rather the fact that it may break connectivity for some parts of the system/applications.

  • I was thinking they might just be talking about connectivity issues, but I wanted to hear some other opinions on the topic, so thank you. – zinfandel Nov 6 '15 at 22:37
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According to the tutorial, socksifying your entire system involves manually editing your shell startup file. If done improperly, this could destabilise your shell. The reason they discourage nontechnical users from doing this is because this is one of the many ways in which you can break your system beyond repair.

It is basically a disclaimer stating they are not responsible for any damage you do while configuring their socks.

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