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Friday, March 2, 2012

SmoothWall - An Open Source Firewall

A firewall is one of the tools used to secure a computer network. A firewall can prevent unwanted access to networked systems while preventing local systems from attacking systems on other networks (on the other side of the firewall). Firewalls require on-going monitoring in order to ensure that they do not unnecessarily restrict access to important computer resources while preventing unwanted access and to ensure that the firewall is operating as expected.

logs should also be reviewed regularly in order to evaluate traffic patterns including denied connections. Installing and operating a firewall to protect a LAN is only one of many criteria that Network Administrators need to consider when determining the security requirements of their environment. A complete security assessment will help identify other areas of vulnerability.

Generally, all firewalls are software-based, and there is no such thing as a purely hardware-only firewall. Embedded firewalls are simply very limited-capability programs running on a low-power CPU, and this software can be upgraded or replaced if someone has sufficient skill and resources to do so.

Smoothwall is a Linux distribution designed to be used as an open source firewall. Designed for ease of use, Smoothwall is configured via a web-based GUI, and requires little or no knowledge of Linux to install or use.
SmoothWall Express allows PC users in home, SOHO, and office environments to build a Web-managed, secure Internet router that provides a totally secured network internet connection. SmoothWall Express includes automatic probing and set-up for popular ISDN devices, multiple Ethernet devices, IPSEC Virtual Private Network (VPN) capabilities, and support for ADSL and Cable users. Managed via an intelligent SmartWeb Web interface, SmoothWall has extended the ability of IT managers and administrators to deploy secure network connectivity in offices, schools, colleges, and telecommuting environments alike.

In addition to that, there are the the following features
  • POP3 Email antivirus proxy - email scanning with market-leading ClamAV
  • 'Purple' network interface - keep wireless clients like laptops safely off the main network.
  • Inline Proxy support for Instant Messaging (MSN, ICQ, Yahoo!, AOL) & VoIP with logging capabilities - monitor/record conversations & filter objectionable words & phrases.
  • Universal Plug n Play Support (UPnP) - essential for getting your Xbox 360 and other games consoles online.
  • Bandwidth Management - prioritize important traffic & speed up browsing with a new web-caching proxy.
  • Real-time Graphs & per IP Traffic Stats - view & track web usage per user on an hour by hour, day by day or month by month basis. (great for people with download quotas)
  • New, easier update system - Easy to use, single click update system for keeping your protection up to date.
  • Outbound traffic blocking with time-based controls - restrict Internet access for different users at different times of the day
  • Developer edition - tinkering without tears (for those who want it) with a 'home brew' extension system for user-created add-ons.
  • Network time server - never set your computer clock again!

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