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When outside our company firewall, I use a script to tunnel via SSH and expose our internal wiki to my OSX machine. Is there a command to temporarily tell OSX to resolve to my local port when the tunnel is set up?

The sequence I'm hoping to use is:

  1. open the tunnel ssh -f external-proxy.example -L 8001:internal-wiki.example:8000 -N
  2. [DO SOMETHING HERE]

  3. typing the URL internal-wiki.example:8000 in my browser causes it to transparently view localhost:8001

Other details:

  • I could edit /etc/hosts but that would be a persistent change. I want to use this only when outside
  • We're not using SSL or certs.
  • I can think of a solution involving a tun device which would work on Linux. Does Mac OS X have a tun device that can be used in a similar way? – kasperd Sep 20 '17 at 16:53
  • Check my answer as it meets everything you've asked for without any extra steps on creating tun devices, fifo nor proxies. – Marcel Sep 25 '17 at 14:32
  • @marcel yes it is a good answer. It's the same as the first option I gave, wrapped in a bash script. I do like the use of trap, btw. – mjb2kmn Sep 26 '17 at 15:30
3
+100

I have a solution for you, wrap your ssh command into a bash script:

#!/bin/bash

function control_c {
    echo -en "\n## Caught SIGINT; Clean up /etc/hosts and Exit \n"
    sed -i '' "/internal-wiki/d" /etc/hosts
    exit $?
}

trap control_c SIGINT
trap control_c SIGTERM

(sleep 5; open http://internal-wiki.example:8001 &)&
echo '127.0.0.1 internal-wiki.example' >> /etc/hosts
ssh -L8001:internal-wiki.example:8000 -f external-proxy.example -N

Explaining:

  1. function that executes the cleanup on Control-C when issued
  2. trap Control-C and shutdown
  3. sleep, tell osx to open your site, get out of the way (the ampersand)
  4. adds the entry to /etc/hosts
  5. create the tunnel
  6. when you ctrl-c, the functions kicks in and cleans up /etc/hosts with the transient entry
  • Oh, you'll have to sudo script.bash in order to be able to edit /etc/hosts – Marcel Sep 22 '17 at 14:36
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My apologies if this is not sufficient for an answer, I don't have enough rep to comment here.

I think /etc/hosts is possibly the best option. I don't know what your teardown process is, but you could add removing the /etc/hosts entry as part of it.
Also I think the port change won't work with a /etc/hosts solution. Can you map localhost:8000 to internal-wiki.example:8000?

Then you could add something like 127.0.1.1 internal-wiki.example to /etc/hosts and remove the line when you stop the tunnel like so: sed -i '' '/127.0.1.1 internal-wiki.example/d' (be sure to test that before running live of course).

This should allow you to use http(s)://internal-wiki.example:8000 in your browser.

It's not a perfect solution, but anything better (such as port mapping) I think would require an http proxy running locally.

For what it's worth, adding and removing host entries is how Parallels makes VMs addressable by hostname. This is added to my /etc/hosts while my xu17 VM is running: 172.20.10.112 xu17.shared xu17 #prl_hostonly shared

Of course running an nginx proxy would handle this nicely, but it might be a bit more setup than you're looking for?
A simpler option with netcat might work depending on the web application.

# make fifo for second nc to transfer response back to first nc
mkfifo /tmp/proxy.pipe
nc -lk 8001 < /tmp/proxy.pipe | nc internal-wiki.example 8000 > /tmp/proxy.pipe

Then when you close the tunnel, you can kill the nc process and delete /tmp/proxy.pipe

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Run a load balancing web server on your Mac balancing between the localhost forwarding and the real address of the wiki configured to prefer the localhost forwarding address.

When the ssh connection is down the load balancer will notice and direct your connections to the regular wiki address.

Configure your web browser to proxy connections for the wiki via the load balancer.

Somewhat of a sledgehammer to crack a nut though.

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Name services (DNS, ldap, /etc/hosts) do not "resolve ports" they resolve hostnames. This statement is not entirely true but a proper explanation at this point is irrelevant and time consuming.

Since OSX uses a BSD kernel, I guess it may also "borrow" a lot of other code from there. The files ns resolver defaults to reading from /etc/hosts but this can be overridden on Linux and BSD by setting the HOSTALIASES environment variable (in the shell you start the browser from) but this only works if there is no '.' in the name. If you can use urls without a . in the name this will solve your problem.

Alternatively, you could run a script to configure port redirection to reroute packets addressed to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8000 to 127.0.0.1:8001 and conversely on incoming packets. But this is rather a kludgy solution.

Alternatively you could install squid and use a custom url redirector to rewrite the requests (also possible if you start using https -but tricky).

A much cleaner option would be to run a proper tunnelled connection across the ssh. I believe this is not supported by osx out of the box but there are openvpn compliant add ons for osx

If it were me I would just set up scripts to swap around the hosts file, keeping all the traffic on one port and making sure that the default config is swapped in at boot time and when the ssh connection ends.

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