Firewall Information and Hardware Setup Guide - Who Needs a Firewall?
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Who needs a firewall?
Everyone does. For corporate concerns and even small companies, firewalls are essential to protecting their networks from attack. The bad guys include so-called script-kiddies who break into systems just to show they can (and often vandalize as they go, “tagging” a system or web site with digital graffiti), hackers who penetrate systems to find out what’s on the other side, “black hats,” malicious hackers bent on doing damage, stealing programs and source code for pirating or otherwise making a profit off the hack, and corporate spies who want to know what their competition is up to (or worse, just plain stealing ideas).
Individual computer owners need firewall protection, too. Credit and identity thieves want personal data. Black hats and script kiddies want innocuous systems to hide their real locations and stage their exploits from, or using hundreds of “zombie” computers to coordinate “denial of service” attacks against web sites, and spammers looking for other computers from which to send out spam emails.
A particular favorite of these malcontents are computers with “always on” connections. They look for DSL and cable internet subscribers who don’t log off when they are not doing business online. These machines can perform operations online without the user even logged into the computer.
Build your own
How difficult is it to build your own firewall appliance? Read on and you’ll find that it isn’t that difficult at all.
The plan is to build a dedicated firewall appliance using an old computer and the free software Smoothwall Express. Smoothwall definitely isn’t he only way to go; there is m0n0wall, IPCop, and ClarkConnect, among others. The latter, in particular, is a good program to use if you need to combine a firewall with one or more server options, but in my opinion would not be as secure as a firewall-only solution.
I chose Smoothwall for this tutorial because, well, I use it myself and am very satisfied with the product and all the options I have available with it.
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