Exposing localhost via a tunnel


I came across this tool, localtunnel, that offers a way to expose a localhost based webserver (for example) to the internet. It is a reverse proxy that brings you to your machine way behind a firewall by bouncing off of a externally reachable host running localtunnel.

I tested it out on my Fedora 16 laptop (all I had to do was to run “gem install localtunnel” as I had ruby already installed).

I like the idea, but am not entirely convinced about the security exposure.

3 thoughts on “Exposing localhost via a tunnel

  1. I like the idea too. It going through a third-party server like localtunnel.com, thus i am not comfortable. May be Fedora can have it’s own like this but have the capability like openvpn-als.

  2. Could someone try if service http://localtunnel.com is still working ?

    I tried:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y ruby-full
    sudo apt-get install -y rubygems1.8
    sudo gem install localtunnel

    on my Raspbian. And result?

    CODE: SELECT ALL
    root@raspberrypi:/home/pi# localtunnel -k ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub 22
    /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:103:in `block in next_packet’: connection closed by remote host (Net::SSH::Disconnect)
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:93:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:93:in `next_packet’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:172:in `block in poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:152:in `next_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group_exchange_sha1.rb:45:in `get_parameters’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group1_sha1.rb:118:in `generate_key’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group1_sha1.rb:51:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:348:in `new’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:348:in `exchange_keys’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:196:in `proceed!’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:187:in `send_kexinit’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:142:in `accept_kexinit’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:189:in `block in poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:204:in `block in wait’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:202:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:202:in `wait’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:81:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh.rb:186:in `new’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh.rb:186:in `start’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0/lib/net/ssh/gateway.rb:74:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/localtunnel-0.3/lib/localtunnel/tunnel.rb:44:in `new’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/localtunnel-0.3/lib/localtunnel/tunnel.rb:44:in `start_tunnel’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/localtunnel-0.3/bin/localtunnel:47:in `’
    from /usr/local/bin/localtunnel:23:in `load’
    from /usr/local/bin/localtunnel:23:in `’
    root@raspberrypi:/home/pi#

    It doesn’t work. But why?

    For port 80 – the same:

    CODE: SELECT ALL
    root@raspberrypi:/home/pi# localtunnel -k ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub 80
    /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:103:in `block in next_packet’: connection closed by remote host (Net::SSH::Disconnect)
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:93:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/packet_stream.rb:93:in `next_packet’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:172:in `block in poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:152:in `next_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group_exchange_sha1.rb:45:in `get_parameters’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group1_sha1.rb:118:in `generate_key’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/kex/diffie_hellman_group1_sha1.rb:51:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:348:in `new’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:348:in `exchange_keys’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:196:in `proceed!’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:187:in `send_kexinit’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/algorithms.rb:142:in `accept_kexinit’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:189:in `block in poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:167:in `poll_message’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:204:in `block in wait’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:202:in `loop’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:202:in `wait’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh/transport/session.rb:81:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh.rb:186:in `new’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-2.6.6/lib/net/ssh.rb:186:in `start’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/net-ssh-gateway-1.2.0/lib/net/ssh/gateway.rb:74:in `initialize’
    from /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/gems/localtunnel-0.3/lib/localtunnel/tunnel.rb:44:in `new’

    1. Thanks for the note. I have not tested it on my Raspberry Pi yet, but on my Fedora 18 machine, it works.

      I followed the steps listed in: http://progrium.com/localtunnel/ and fired up a one line python webserver: “python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8000”, opened up port 8000 on my local machine’s firewall and ensured that the router allowed to map in coming port 8000 to my machine on the local lan.

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