To be a successful Linux system administrator, ensuring the security of the Linux systems or network infrastructure plays an important role. For establishing sound security management, you have to use certain rules in the Linux firewall. This Linux firewall rules control and manage incoming and outgoing network traffic and only allows legitimate connection between internal and external networks.
So the Linux firewall acts as a network security program that ultimately controls connections and dictates whether it’s valid or not (unwanted intrusions). Though Linux distros shipped with default firewall protection through iptables but yet it’s good to have some extra choices for the system administrator.
Linux Firewall Software
In this roundup article, I will share a generic list of best open-source Linux firewall software and Linux distros used for only firewall protection. This list might be helpful in selecting the best one as per requirements.
Iptables or Netfilter is the most popular and blazing fast open source CLI based Linux firewall. Many system administrators prefer to use it for their server protection as it plays the first line of defense of a Linux server protection.Both IPv4 and IPv6 are protected using iptables and ip6tables accordingly. You can add, view, modify or remove the rules in the packet filter ruleset.
2. IPCop Firewall
If you want firewall security for a home or small office perimeter, then the IPCop firewall is best for you. IPCop is an open source Linux firewall distro which runs on an old PC with fewer resources and acts as a secure VPN for your network connection. IPCop is a stable, user-friendly, secure and highly configurable firewall protection system for the Linux server. You can manage and set rules of this Linux firewall through intuitive, well designed and easy to use web interface.
Shorewall or Shoreline is yet another popular and free open-source Linux firewall. This firewall protection program based on the iptables/ipchains Netfilter system built into the Linux kernel. It also supports IPV6. If you are facing difficulty using the Iptables firewall or setting rules, then you should try the Shorewall firewall. It supports a wide range of gateway, router and firewall applications.
pfSense is a free yet powerful open-source Linux firewall used for FreeBSD servers. It offers lots of features that you normally find on commercial firewall products. pfSense is based on Stateful Packet filtering concept. Once installed, one browser-based console will let you take through the firewall setup and gives you the options to configure the network interface. It can be used as a perimeter firewall protection for the router, DNS server, and DHCP. Moreover, you can use it as a VPN endpoint and wireless access point.
5. Untangle NG Firewall
Unlike any other Linux firewall, Untangle NG Firewall is a powerful Debian based distro that provides a single unified platform where you can manage and control everything to protect the organization network system. This firewall system is built to keep you free from configuring network security options that ultimately save you both time and money.
It has a browser-based intuitive and responsive user interface that lets you create network set-rules easily and quickly. It’s simply powerful with comprehensive security at a gateway, next-generation filtering, deep insight analysis, better connectivity, and performance, etc.
6. UFW – Firewall
UFW stands for an uncomplicated firewall that is used to manage and control the Netfilter iptables firewall. It’s a command-line firewall program for the Ubuntu server and the Debian system. The main aim of this firewall security software is to lessen the complexity of the iptables firewall using Gufw. The GUI – gufw is very user-friendly, truly uncomplicated, easy to use, and can be easily integrated with applications.
IPFire is one of the best open source Linux firewall software available in the market. IPFire has to offer a wide range of customizations and flexibility and it can be configured to use as a firewall, a proxy server or a VPN gateway. This firewall security software is suitable for Small Office, Home Office (SOHO) environments. The attacks are detected and prevented using built-in IDS – Intrusion Detection System and the security system is developed as a Stateful Packet Inspection(SPI) firewall.
8. Smoothwall Express
Ensuring network security is always cumbersome to a new system administrator. As a newbie, you might want a Linux firewall that is easy to use and offers a simple but compact user interface. In this case, Smoothwall Express will be best suitable for you. It’s a free open source firewall solution that includes a rock-solid security function for the Linux server system. Smoothwall express supports internal and external network firewall filtering, LAN, DMZ, insight traffic stats, web proxy for acceleration, etc.
VyOS is a completely free and open source network OS based on Debian GNU/Linux. You can install it on any physical hardware or a virtual machine using own server or cloud platform. VyOS joins multiple applications including ISC DHCPD, Quagga, StrongS/WAN, OpenVPN, under one single management interface. Unlike pfSense, VyOS supports for advanced routings like dynamic routing protocols and command-line interface. It can also be deployed as a virtual firewall and a VPN endpoint protection.
Vuurmuur is another easy to use but yet powerful Linux firewall built on top of iptables. This network security manager lets you control and manage iptable rules for your Linux server without any prior iptable knowledge. It supports traffic shaping, let you access administrative privilege like look at the logs, connection and system bandwidth usage in real-time.
So now you can understand how important is to keep safe your network connectivity. I hope this list of Linux firewall software will help you to get the best one. This Linux firewall will definitely protect your network infrastructure from being hacked.