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Protecting Networks With SmoothWall Express

Dec 12, 2008, 20:01 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joseph R. Baxter)

"SmoothWall Express 3.0, from August 2007, is an open source firewall distribution released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It provides all the features commonly found in a modern system, but also a few that you might not expect. Stateful inspection, dynamic and static NAT, egress controls, demilitarized zone (DMZ) segmentation, and a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server are de rigueur in today's world. However, this package adds a selection of proxy servers for the Web (content filtering is available in the commercial editions), POP3 mail, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Domain Name System (DNS), and instant messaging. You can configure the proxies to further protect networks with antivirus scanning and forensic logging, and Snort intrusion-detection software is built in for logging suspicious events. However, real-time alerting via email or SMS text messages is not available on the Express version. SmoothWall also features a simple quality of service (QoS) management that business and home users alike should find valuable.

"With a free registered account, you can access my.SmoothWall, a hosted service that collects data on firewall specs, chipsets, and more. A world map plots the data, allowing you to anonymously view listings of hardware in use throughout the world. They have titled the beta my.SmoothWall Web site Firewall Management, but it is unclear how extensive this management will be in the final version. It might become a comprehensive set of tools like those that service providers on the SonicWALL platform use to administrate multiple customers; or it might remain only a place for update notifications and deployment data. In either case, this level of integration to the vendor Web site is almost unknown among open source firewalls."

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