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Old 07-25-2008, 12:14 PM   #1
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Question about the Firewall

This is my first time with Linux and I like it better than windows. I want to know if we need to get a firewall or is there one in the system?
Old 07-25-2008, 12:25 PM   #2
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well i run fedora and from what i know, most if not all distros come with a built-in firewall. For fedora its called SELinux which you can get to by invoking:

system-config-selinux and the firewall would be system-config-firewall

but you have to be super user/root or if you already added yourself to the sudoers list then you can use that as well.

If you go to System > Administration > Firewall .. you get to the same location as above.
Old 07-25-2008, 12:55 PM   #3
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First off, welcome to the club, hope you enjoy yourself.

Second, yes, a firewall may be a good idea -- but not for the reasons that you have to protect yourself from Windows: the plethora of viruses, Trojan horses, crap and corruption that affect Windows do not affect Linux. Now, that doesn't mean that you won't experience bad boys and girls trying to break into your machine (particularly, but not limited to, those in China, Korea and former Soviet-bloc countries), but your machine by default will protect you from almost every typical break-in attempt. You must use "good" passwords (meaning at least eight characters including one or more upper case letters, one or more numbers, one or more punctuation characters), but, generally, you're pretty break-in proof.

If you have a high-speed internet connection, a external router is a good idea (also for Windows); for example, Linksys routers manage your connection to the internet and provide a firewall for about $40. The router connects to your modem (DSL, cable, whatever) and provides multiple Ethernet connections for your computers and other Ethernet-based equipment. Worth looking into.

Other than that, simply follow good practice. Browse with Firefox (with, say, the Add Block and NoScript add-ons), get your mail with Thunderbird (and add the Spamato junk mail add-on for example) and life will be good. Take a look at DenyHosts and see if you like the idea of what it does (I've been running it for a couple of years now and it really works and makes my life easier).

There are all kinds of ways to secure your system and you need to do some reading (and asking here) for ideas, but try not to go overboard until you get a good grasp of why you're going to do something; don't just wily-nilly install everything available without knowing what you're doing and why.

Hope this helps some.
Old 07-25-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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The linux firewall system is iptables. Practically all distros supply that.

However, you might want an easy-to-use graphical front end to iptables and there are a variety of those and many distros supply one or two but it seems unlike that any distro supplies them all by default as there are so many.

By default some distros supply iptables but configure it into an 'accept anything' mode, which is rather like having no firewall. Of course, they would expect you to spend the time configuring it. Err, obviously.

As has been mentioned, if you have a router you probably have a firewall of sorts (not, as far as I am aware, the USB stick things, but the things which connect via an ethernet cable). The trouble is, some of these firewalls aren't very configurable and don't leave you much choice other than 'everything open' and 'just let web traffic through'. You may not find that either of these options is ideal.


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