Building a Linux Firewall Part 1: Why?

firewall1

Custom firewall vs router appliance

There’s no doubt that the internet today is more powerful than ever… and great power demands great responsibility.  There are threats everywhere that you need to protect yourself, your family, and your hardware from.  Not only do you have to worry about hackers, viruses, and spammers, but you need to worry about sexual predators and inappropriate content for your children (or spouses)

Kids today have more adult freedoms and privileges than any prior generation.  Add to that all of the unwarranted privacy they receive, and you’ll see that any parent should be concerned about what their kids are doing online.  It’s in the news every week: some teenager who has committed suicide over Internet Bullying, kids being listed as sex offenders for broadcasting naked photos of themselves.  And don’t even get me started on how anonymity emboldens angry teens to behave in aggressive, rude, and socially reprehensible ways… especially when many families today only have one parent in the house.  Do you think kids would act this way if they knew someone was watching?

It may be better if they DON’T know someone’s watching.  That way you can watch how your teen or tween is naturally behaving on the Internet.  Some may see this as “spying”, but remember that parents are responsible for their children until they are 18.   If you take your kid to the zoo, you don’t let them put their hands in the lion cage just because they want to “pet the kitty”.   You know what’s best for your children, and they are blissfully unaware of real-life dangers.

There are some software programs that offer some protection, but honestly they can be circumvented in many ways, and don’t you think that the technology-savvy youth of today know about these programs.

Consumer-level Internet Routers don’t do the job, either.  At best, they offer network translation, which keeps passers-by from looking in the shop window, but nearly any mischievious person can take a deeper jab.  Many users don’t even bother to change the default passwords on their devices, or enable the advanced security features.

On the next page I’ll tell you all of the advantages of a custom-build firewall…

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3 Comments

  1. Jose Pedro

    June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Try also IPFire, is based on a fork of IPCop and has a newer kernel (based on 2.6 series) and more features than IPCop at the moment.
    Also it have a better web interface.

  2. Alan

    June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    @Jose Pedro: It appears that IPfire is still a very early beta version. The purpose of this series is to make things easier and more clear, not add to the confusion. IPcop and SmoothWall both have been around for a while and have lots of support.

  3. dragonbite

    June 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

    This is a very important subject! I look forward to the rest of the articles as I know some people who can use some help.

    I use IPCop now and when I tell other parents they are interested.