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Old 11-30-2004, 10:46 PM   #1
sog777
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Posts: 23

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Which Linux OS to use? Which Firewall?


I am inquiring as to which Linux based OS and firewall to use.

it must be as user friendly as possible.
the setup that i want to do is as follows.

Internet < Linux Router/Firewall Box (dedicated) < 16 Port Hub < 16 PC's fully protected.

also 2 pc's will be set for DMZ that are not included in the 16 workstations.

it will be used at a non profit outlet and it must be stable and have a long up time history. there is a Full T1 as access to the internet. Any help is appreciated.

Joseph
 
Old 11-30-2004, 10:48 PM   #2
Whitehat
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: The Cold North
Distribution: SuSE 9.1
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http://www.smoothwall.org/get/

It may not be so "user friendly" but it is darn good.

-Whitehat
 
Old 12-01-2004, 04:01 AM   #3
justwantin
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Distribution: Slackware, Slackwarearm
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I use IPCop and just upgraded from 1.3 to v-1.4. It's a fork of Smoothwall and probably still similar. It'll give you a green interface (to secure lan), and orange interface (to dmz), a red interface (to internet) and theres a blue available for wireless network too.

I use it with an adsl modem in bridge mode to an older box (500 mhz cpu/128 mb ram). This box has two nics, one to modem (red) and one to switch (green). Clients on lan connect at switch. I'd need a third nic to dmz box(s). I use an addon called Copfilter for pop3 proxy for virus scanning type functions. Just before setting up adsl I used it with an internal hardware modem for dial on demand.

Its about 50-60 mb linux system with only what's needed for firewall/router. once you do the basic install, assign ips, passwords, etc. you use its web interface from anyotherbox and you can also access on the command line via ssh.

If you download the pdf manual and understand what it's talking about there's no problem. I actually found setting up the DSL-302G modem in bridge mode more daunting.

There was a recent article about it here:
http://security.linux.com/security/0...tid=100&tid=35

If you're also asking about linux distro for workstations...hmm..that's flame bait.... but I use slack on all my other boxes at home and work, default install is quite secure and its a solid stable base without a lot of bloat.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 04:17 AM   #4
svalovic
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Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Slovakia
Distribution: debian lenny, squeeze, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Puppy
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Trustix is very safe linux distro, but it is not very user friendly, try mandrake 10.0 Official, it is very user friendly, and it has a good firewall. Or try SUSe distribution, it is very good distro with a lot of software available and easy to configure.

Good luck.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 05:21 AM   #5
notolerance
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Registered: Jan 2004
Posts: 23

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I have run smoothwall and freecisco. both are good and very easy to configure, but if you want to learn a little I would configure one yourself it's not as bad as you would think. this is if your confertable with command line.

Look at
www.iptablesrocks.org/
http://www.linuxguruz.com/iptables/

to get some ideas.

personally I would start with a distro like debian sarge as a core system and only add the packages you need thru apt-get so it is easy to "harden the sytem"

Last edited by notolerance; 12-01-2004 at 05:23 AM.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 06:56 AM   #6
Maqo
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: NY
Distribution: Mandrake 10.0 Official
Posts: 21

Rep: Reputation: 15
I'll second Smoothwall...
 
Old 12-01-2004, 08:28 AM   #7
thejedi1
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Registered: Mar 2002
Posts: 7

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The absolute best and easiest linux distro to use as a firewall is Clarkconnect, it comes with a web interface for configuration, and a ton of preconfigured packages like snort (IDS), mrtg for connection statistics reporting, a DNS caching server, mail server and web server. I have tried lots of firewall distros but this one is by far the best.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 09:33 AM   #8
nycace36
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SFBayArea, CA
Distribution: Debian-based, Slackware 10x+
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Which Linux OS to use? Which Firewall?

Seems that there are two types of Linux firewall distro media formats :

A. CD's. Includes the above highly recommended ClarkConnect, Smoothwall, and IPCop.

B. Floppy disks.
Includes abovementioned FREEciSCO (a.k.a. FREESCO) as well as floppyfw and a fewl others.

LQ has a decent Firewall Distributions page at http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/..._distributions
for reviewing these Linux OS's .

IMHO, two advantages of floppy installs for firewalls are 1) one does not need a CD-ROM drive for installation and 2) such a floppy-based firewall can run on older PC's (e.g., Pentium's or slower) with less than 16MB RAM .

Would throw in observation that three major types of firewall boot setups trade performance for security :
When a PC firewall boots up from a CD or floppy disk and does not rely on a hard drive (except maybe for a swap-partition and for logging incoming/outgoing packets), performance can be noticeably slower, but crack attacks are less likely to use harddrive-based methods (e.g., corrupting various key Linux partitions such as /boot, /, and /usr).
OTOH, when one of the above CD or floppy firewall distros is installed on a hard drive, performance tends to be noticeably faster as direct hdd access is faster than using a CD-ROM drive or fdd, BUT... a good root-level attack could require more frequent hdd patching and updating (i.e., could be potentially less "secure" ) .

See other threads in this particular LQ forum for MUCH more info on CD vs. floppy vs. hdd firewall booting, as well as info on other firewall vulnerabilities.

Hope this helps!

-nycace36

Last edited by nycace36; 12-01-2004 at 09:43 AM.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 10:14 AM   #9
stercor
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Mebane NC
Distribution: lfs
Posts: 1

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Talking Which {Linux} to use? Which Firewall

My experience has proved OpenBSD to be quite a bit more stable than Linux. Last time I looked it was 411 days.

I'd go with OpenBSD and any of the recommended firewalls.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 01:57 PM   #10
justwally
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Seattle, WA, US
Distribution: Mandrake, RH8.0, FC2, Xandros2.x, SuSE 9.x
Posts: 5

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Linux distros and firewalls

The question about which Linux distro to use isn't as easy to answer as it might first appear. First, how old, or new, is your PC? If your PC is cutting-edge, then FC3, SuSE, Mandrake, and Debian are decent. Otherwise, any mainstream distro will likely work.

If you are a complete newbie, and want something that will "just work" right out of the box, then that is a different story altogether... I would recommend Xandros Desktop, Linspire, Mandrake, or SuSE as a "starter" distro -- just to get you into the Linux world so you can draw your own conclusions about your future needs. This is especially true if you are switching/looking at making the move from an MS OS to Linux.

As for firewalls, well, a lot of good suggestions have been made here, and I'll add a couple more, because people typically shop around for firewalls before they settle on one that they like/can live with. You ought to check out firestarter and shorewall, in addition to the others mentioned. Firestarter is a capable and easy to configure firewall.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 02:01 PM   #11
justwally
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Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Seattle, WA, US
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Re: Linux distros and firewalls

Quote:
Originally posted by justwally
The question about which Linux distro to use isn't as easy to answer as it might first appear. First, how old, or new, is your PC? If your PC is cutting-edge, then FC3, SuSE, Mandrake, and Debian are decent. Otherwise, any mainstream distro will likely work.

If you are a complete newbie, and want something that will "just work" right out of the box, then that is a different story altogether... I would recommend Xandros Desktop, Linspire, Mandrake, or SuSE as a "starter" distro -- just to get you into the Linux world so you can draw your own conclusions about your future needs. This is especially true if you are switching/looking at making the move from an MS OS to Linux.

P.S. No matter what you decide upon, you should go to each site and check out their offerings, then go to their support forums and see what kind of answers users are getting regarding their problems. If you could live with those kinds of answers, then that is a good indication of where to start.


Last edited by justwally; 12-01-2004 at 02:08 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 02:04 PM   #12
demerson3
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Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Seattle area
Distribution: debian stable
Posts: 51

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mepis

I've been using Mepis on three computers for the last several months. It's very user-friendly, sets up a pretty good firewall by default, and is also debian-based so you get the benefit of apt-get. The major drawbacks are: it has a heavily modified kernel, so most debian kernel patches won't work. Also, in my experience, the user support forums have not been all that active, I've had questions go unanswered for weeks (or indefinitely). However, the support for newer machines, including laptops, as well as devices (e.g. ipod and usb flash drives) is excellent. I don't have any experience setting up a computer as a server, so it might be good to have a different (i.e. non-mepis) setup on the server(s), and give mepis to the folks who need user-friendliness. We've a few rather computer-illiterate guests here who have found mepis very usable, and two of them have asked me to install it on their own computers. Good luck with your business!

~David.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 02:04 PM   #13
nvargas
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Managua, Nicaragua
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Mandrake 10.0 is quite easy to configure as a router and firewall. It's better to download the latest version of Shorewall (the firewall config package included) and configure from scratch, since Mandrake's own config file may be a little confusing.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 02:35 PM   #14
Peeyush Maurya
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Delhi, India
Distribution: Red Hat , WhiteBox
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every linux distro got one or the other thing better/robust/freindly than other. But when it comes to firewall only few r used. and here i raise my hand only for FWBUILDER

Code:
Firewall Builder is multi-platform firewall configuration and management tool. It consists of a GUI and set of policy compilers for various firewall platforms. Firewall Builder uses object-oriented approach, it helps administrator maintain a database of network objects and allows policy editing using simple drag-and-drop operations. Firewall Builder currently supports iptables, ipfilter, OpenBSD PF and Cisco PIX.
 
Old 12-01-2004, 07:18 PM   #15
capnpayne
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Florida
Distribution: Slack 10.1
Posts: 56

Rep: Reputation: 15
Don't worry about user-friendliness... You can learn. Get something efficient and read a lot about it.

FreeBSD and OpenBSD are very solid.
 
  


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