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.
3. Shorewall – Iptables Made Easy
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 – Uncomplicated Firewall
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.
Guarddog is a network protocol system that helps to secure a network by preventing access or attack of any vulnerability. It has a well designed graphical user interface so that the users get a smooth experience in using it. They have the right to modify and maintain the firewall. Overall, Guarddog is an easy-going Linux firewall software for the usage, and the upcoming upgrades may make it more understandable.
SuSEfirewall2 is a scripted network protocol that prevents unwanted network access. It rejects or blocks the attack of any unwanted network packet that can be harmful to a private network. SuSEfirewall2 is IP version 6 supported and requires a setup that is based on zones. Users can easily configure this Linux firewall software by paying less effort. Primarily there are rules in the firewall already set up for protecting networks.
APF stands for Advanced Policy Firewall that serves as a protective software to its network. APF works in 3 methods. Primarily it supports the network providing protection by following default rules applied for preventing unwanted traffic from attacking the network. The second method is to provide familiar packets the access to a certain network and restricting unfamiliars. The third method is to know about the attack of various traffic with different patterns and preventing them in the future.
14. Firewall Builder
Firewall Builder is a firewall software that consists of a Graphical User Interface. Firewall offers its users to customize and apply rules according to their accurate needs, and this can be done without coding, rather just by describing the objective. It is a very easy-going firewall software for configuration following the exact need of a user. IPv6 and IPv4 both can be run as a mixed rule in the software.
Drawbridge is an all-time updated firewall software that provides the latest protection method to its users. It provides accurate protection to certain networks with the advantage of antivirus, VPN, etc. Drawbridge developer team always tries to gather the latest news about cyber attacks and work as needs. A monitoring team is also present to analyze every report and work on it so that the customers get the best service.
FireHOL is a strong Linux firewall software with a simple and easily understandable interface. It provides a variety of functions. FireHOL offers verification to traffic that is unknown to it, and if finds it vulnerable, drops the traffic in the blacklist and if finds out trustable drops the traffic in the whitelist. This Linux firewall software sorts out the traffic according to the source, file type, and date-time.
Plesk is a firewall software that enables protection to a private network by following some rules implemented in the firewall software. Users can customize the settings of default rules or change the rules according to their needs. This Linux firewall software checks traffic accessing the network and decides if it can have a pass or not. Continuous monitoring by the developers of Plesk ensures the security of their customers.
18. Sophos XG
Sophos XG provides next-generation service as firewall software. It is used by mid-sized companies and enterprises and has an understandable interface, and its setup is easy. This Linux firewall software is so smart that it can identify any threat trying to access the internet instantly and blocks the vulnerability at the instant. According to eSecurity Planet, Sophos XG has blocked about 93.5% threats since it started its journey.
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.
Is this article helpful? Which Linux firewall do you use or like? Let us know your suggestion, experience or queries in the comment below.