Linked by Niall C. Brady on Tue 3rd Feb 2004 20:17 UTC
Linux For those that don't already know, smoothwall is a very slick and easy way to setup a firewall/nat/dhcp server (and more) at home or in a small office very quickly even on old computer equipment. I have used Smoothwall 1.0 in the past and liked its features (although at the time, I did have a problem with Snort failing to start after I updated the software with some fixes...). It served on an old Pentium II 400mhz machine with two NICs inside (network cards). One was the 'green' interface (more about that later) and the other was the 'red' interface. I used that setup for quite a few months, mainly because I wanted to see what alternatives there were to hardware based firewalls (such as DLink gateways/firewalls) that I had been using.
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Firewall builder
by Karim Ben Ayed on Tue 3rd Feb 2004 21:58 UTC

Another excellent software is Firewall Builder http://www.fwbuilder.org/. Its graphical interfact is very similar to the commercially available firwall devices.

I use it on a 12 years old 486DX 100 with 48 Megs of ram as the server with a cdrom and no hard drive.

Gentoo is used as the OS. I compiled a minimal version with only the required components and customized it to boot from a disk and then kicks on the cdrom as its bios can't boot from the cdrom directly.

Only the files that are required to be writable are available in the ram file system as links. The rest are available from the cd in order to conserve ram and to minimize hacking impact if any, no one can modify the /etc/shadow and passwd files or almost anything else of a value.

The iptables firewall script is generated by Firwall Builder that is available on another box.

This machine is up for over a year and is rock solid and very secure.


On another note, Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD are almost equally secure if configured correctly. I don't really have a reason of using one versus the other short of personal preferences.