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Byte.com: Firewalls For Home Users Are Essential - Secure Your Castle's Cyberperimeter

May 08, 2000, 22:55 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jerry Pournelle)

"I use a neat little device called a Netwinder from Rebel.com. The Netwinder is a Linux appliance; it runs a customized distribution of Red Hat Linux 6.1 on its StrongARM RISC chip, and has a pretty useful Web-based administration GUI that, among other things, lets you configure the firewall ruleset. The Netwinder uses the ipchains firewall software that has become very popular in the Linux world, and also does IP masquerading, which lets me hide multiple machines behind a single IP address from my ISP. Because my internal network uses a non-routable address system, even if someone was to break into my Netwinder the intrusion would stop there."

"The rebel.com Netwinder is definitely Good Enough, and is highly recommended. We've recently upgraded to the rack-mounted version, but our original Netwinder was also Good Enough; and for most small offices, using a Netwinder as your means of communication with the outside world may be the best way to go."

"I have my Netwinder's filtering rules set up to basically let anything that originates from my private network reach the outside world, but to severely restrict inbound connections. Be advised: setting up any firewall's filtering rules is a non-trivial exercise, even with a GUI; you really need to do some reading and ask some questions. If possible, have a knowledgeable friend help you the first time or three that you set one up."

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