You want to keep your computer safe. Although Linux is less susceptible to viruses than either Mac OS or Windows, you still want to take precautions to ensure that your computer or network is not infected by a nasty virus. The best way to do this, whether you’re protecting your personal computer, or a group of computers in a network (no matter if its home or business related), is by using a firewall.
We’re assuming that you are already familiar with Iptables, Linux’s most popular command-line based firewall. As Iptables is the first line of defense for Linux networks, we’ll be looking at other firewalls that can be used independently, or used together with Iptables for stronger security.
Here are five of the best free open-source firewalls that you can use with Linux:
- IPCop Firewall: The IPCop firewall is aimed toward personal users, as well as SOHO (Small Office or Home Office) users. One of the main goals of IPCop is ease of use. The firewall provides an easily accessible user interface that allows both professionals and beginners to make the most of the program. The user interface makes use of color coding, and users can also view and monitor graphics that show the performance of the network. These graphics also show the user the CPU, memory, and hard disk performance of computers in the network.
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- Shorewall: Shorewall supports packet filtering, as well as router/firewall/and gateway applications. It also allows you to make use of multiple ISPs at once, depending on who you have providing your internet services. If you wish to use a VPN, then that will work as well. Shorewall supports all VPNs.
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- Vuurmuur: Vuurmuur is a modern firewall that supports IPV6. It has advanced monitoring features for those who require them. It also allows users to monitor bandwidth usage and connection in real-time, which is useful for system administrators. This firewall can easily be configured with NAT (Network Address Translation), another nice feature for administrators. No prior knowledge of Iptables is needed to use Vuurmuur efficiently.
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- IPFire: IPFire is useful for those who need many services from one program. You can use the program as a firewall, VPN gateway, or as a proxy server. Another useful feature is content filtering. Content filtering is ideal for personal computers in homes with children, or on workplace computers. IPFire also supports hypervisors, allowing you to experiment safely using virtual machines.
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- ConfigServer Security Firewall: Last, but certainly not least, is ConfigServer Security Firewall. Like IPFire, ConfigServer is also compatible with almost all virtual machines. A useful feature is the ability to configure and receive email alerts about potential threats. These emails will alert you of users who’re using an excessive amount of resources, or who are performing other suspicious activities. The program can also be used to discover ways your system can be exploited, and protect it accordingly.
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Using any of these firewalls is sure to make your system and network secure. They can all be used either independently, or in unison with Iptables. Whether you’re a home user looking to protect your personal machine, or you’re looking for a firewall for your business or workplace networks, Linux has many stellar options. Using this guide, you’re sure to find what you need.