Security with a Firewall
Security with a Firewall
A secure Internet connection is becoming hard to obtain. Depending on how a network is set up correlates to what security protocol needs to be put in place. One good step in obtaining a secure Internet connection with any network would be to setup a firewall. According to Jeff Tyson (2008), “A Firewall is simply a program or hardware device that filters the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer system.” The previous quote implies that a firewall, at its simplest form, is just a filter. Firewalls can be software, hardware and a combination of both.
One type of firewall is a software firewall. Software firewall is typically software installed on the local computer. Most operating systems (OSs)–Windows, Mac, and Linux/UNIX—have a software firewall installed by default. According to National Cyber Alert System (2008), “If you don’t have a built-in firewall, you can obtain a software firewall for relatively little or no cost from your local computer store, software vendors, or ISP.” Software firewalls are very easy to obtain and install on a computer system. Some software firewalls are Windows Firewall, Norton Internet Security, and Iptables from Linux. Software firewalls are good when a single computer is connected to the Internet.
Another type of firewall is a hardware firewall. Most if not all routers now of days are coming out with a hardware firewall built into the router. A hardware firewall is dedicated hardware designed to be a firewall. Some hardware firewalls include Norton Corporate Firewall, Cisco Pix, and Cisco ASA. Hardware firewalls work best when protecting a network and not a single host.
Another type of firewall is a combination of both software and hardware firewalls. The Linux/UNIX community has a few OSs designed solely as firewalls. Smoothwall is one of the the great options that the Linux community offers. According to SmoothWall.org (2008), “The SmoothWall GPL project was founded in the summer of 2000 by Lawrence Manning (Principle Code Author) and Richard Morrell (Project Manager). Their goal was to create a Linux distribution that could convert a redundant PC into a hardened Internet firewall device.” Most computer technicians have a few old computers around the house, so why not make them into a proxy and a firewall? Here are some options that come with SmoothWall:
● Linux Iptables Firewall
● Squid Proxy with plug-ins, such as DansGuardian
● IM proxy and logging
● POP3 logging
● Live AV Virus Scan—Internet traffic and E-mail Scanning
● VPN Support
● Intrusion Detection from Snort
● Capability of setting up multiple networks, such as LAN, WLAN and DMZ
The downfall to SmoothWall is the technical ability it takes to set up. For a technical person or a corporation, SmoothWall is a great option.
To conclude, the Internet is not safe, unless the computer administrator takes the proper steps to secure the environment. The free-option-packed firewalls designed by the Linux community are bringing down the price of hardware and software firewalls; thus, the greater availability of firewalls is making a more secure and safer-surfing environment on the Internet.
The SmoothWall Open Source Project. (2008). Retrieved October 19, 2008, from
National Cyber Alert System. (2008). Retrieved 17, 2008, from
HowStuffWorks, Inc. (2008). Retrieved October 17, 2008, from
Dev hardware. (2008). Retrieved October 17, 2008, from