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Using Linux iptables or ipchains to set up an internet gateway / firewall / router for home or office

Methods of connecting your network to the internet:

This tutorial will cover using a linux computer as a gateway between a private network and the internet. Any internet connection whether it be a dial-up PPP, DSL, cable modem or a T1 line can be used. In the case of most dial-up PPP connections and cable modem connections, only a single IP address is issued allowing only one computer to connect to the internet at a time. Using Linux and iptables / ipchains one can configure a gateway which will allow all computers on a private network to connect to the internet via the gateway and one external IP address, using a technology called "Network Address Translation" (NAT) or masquerading and private subnets. Iptables/ipchains can also be configured so that the Linux computer acts as a firewall, providing protection to the internal network.

Related YoLinux Tutorials:

°Linux Networking

°Linux Sys Admin

°Web site configuration

°Internet Security

°YoLinux Tutorials Index




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Firewall versions vs Linux kernel versions:

Note: References to ipfwadm and ipchains refer to older deprecated software.

Firewall Command Linux Kernel Version Red Hat Version
iptables 2.4.x, 2.6.x 7.1 - 9.0, Fedora 1,2,3
ipchains 2.2.x 6.x, 7.0
ipfwadm 2.0.x 5.x

Note: Red Hat 7.1-9.0 and the default Linux 2.4 kernel may use ipchains or iptables but not both. Iptables is the preferred firewall as it supports "state" and can recognize if a network connection has already been "ESTABLISHED" or if the connection is related to the previous connection (required for ftp which makes multiple connections on different ports). Ipchains can not. Ipchain rules take precedence over iptables rules. During system boot, the kernel attempts to activate ipchains, then attempts to activate iptables. If ipchain rules have been activated, the kernel will not start iptables.

Red Hat 7.1 will not support ipchains unless that option is configured (during install or later). If during install you select "Disable Firewall - no protection" then ipchains will not be available and you must rely upon iptables for a manual firewall configuration. (iptables only. ipchains will be unavailable)

GUI configuration:

  • iptables: The GUI configuration tool /usr/bin/redhat-config-securitylevel can be used to choose a preconfigured firewall (High, Medium or no firewall) or it can be used to manually configure rules based on the network services your server will offer. The init script /etc/rc.d/init.d/iptables will use rules stored in /etc/sysconfig/iptables.
  • ipchains: The tool that does this is lokkit (or /usr/bin/gnome-lokkit), which uses ipchains to configure firewall options for High and Low security options. To support ipchains after install, run /usr/bin/gnome-lokkit and configure a firewall. It will configure ipchains to activate the firewall. Lokkit will generate the file /etc/sysconfig/ipchains. (Used by init script /etc/rc.d/init.d/ipchains which calls /sbin/ipchains-restore)

    To see if ipchains and the Lokkit configuration is invoked during system boot, use the command:

        chkconfig --list | grep ipchains

The default Red Hat 7.1+ Linux 2.4 kernel is compiled to support both iptables and ipchains. Kernel support for ipchains is available during a kernel configuration and compilation. During make xconfig or make menuconfig turn on the feature: "IP: Netfilter Configuration" + "ipchains (2.2-style) support".

Check your installation by using the command: rpm -q iptables ipchains
These packages must be installed. The commands iptables and ipchains are the command interfaces to configure kernel firewall rules. The default Red Hat 7.1 kernel supports iptables and ipchains. (But not both at the same time.)

[Potential Pitfall]: When performing an upgrade instead of a new install, the upgrade software will not install iptables as did not exist on the system previously. It will perform an upgrade to a newer version of ipchains. If you wish to use iptables, you must manually install the iptables RPM.
i.e.: rpm -ivh iptables-XXX.i386.rpm

[Potential Pitfall]: The Linux operating system kernel may load or not load what you had expected. Use the command lsmod to see if ip_tables or ip_chains were loaded.

Switching a running system from ipchains to iptables: (Red Hat 7.1-9.0 - Linux kernel 2.4 specific)

Sequence Command Description
1 chkconfig --del ipchains Remove ipchains from system boot/initialization process
2 chkconfig --add iptables Add iptables to system boot/initialization process
3 ipchains -F Flush ipchains rules
4 service ipchains stop Stop ipchains. Also: /etc/init.d/ipchains stop
5 rmmod ipchains Unload ipchains kernel module. Iptables kernel module can not be loaded if the ipchains module is loaded
6 service iptables start Load iptables kernel module. Also: /etc/init.d/iptables stop


Network Address Translation (NAT):

An individual on a computer on the private network may point their web browser to a site on the internet. This request is recognized to be beyond the local network so it is routed to the Linux gateway using the private network address. The request for the web page is sent to the web site using the external internet IP address of the gateway. The request is returned to the gateway which then translates the IP address to computer on the private network which made the request. This is often called IP masquerading. The software interface which enables one to configure the kernel for masquerading is iptables (Linux kernel 2.4) or ipchains (Linux kernel 2.2)

The gateway computer will need two IP addresses and network connections, one to the private internal network and another to the external public internet.

A note on private network IP addresses: A set of IP addresses has been reserved by IANA for private networks. They range from 192.168.0.1 to 192.168.254.254 for a typical small business or home network and are often referred to as CIDR private network addresses. Most private networks conform to this scheme.

Block Range CIDR Notation Default Subnet Mask Number of hosts
24 bit block in class A 10.0.0.0 10.255.255.255 10.0.0.0/8 255.0.0.0 16,777,216
20 bit block in class B 172.16.0.0 172.31.255.255 172.16.0.0/12 255.240.0.0 1,048,576
16 bit block in class C 192.168.0.0 192.168.255.255 192.168.0.0/16 255.255.0.0 65,536
The actual number of hosts will be fewer that listed because addresses on each subnet will be reserved as a broadcast address, etc.

This is detailed in RFC 1918 - Address Allocation for Private Internets. For a description of class A, B, and C networks see the YoLinux Networking Tutorial class description.

The private networks may be subdivided into various subnets as desired. Examples:

Range CIDR Notation Default Subnet Mask Number of hosts
10.2.3.0 10.2.4.255 10.2.3.0/23 255.255.254.0 512
172.16.0.0 172.17.255.255 172.16.0.0/15 255.254.0.0 132608
192.168.5.128 192.168.5.255 192.168.5.128/25 255.255.255.128 128


Example 1: Linux connected via PPP

This example uses a Linux computer connected to the internet using a dial-up line and modem (PPP). The Linux gateway is connected to the internal network using an ethernet card. The internal network consists of Windows PC's.

The Linux box must be configured for the private internal network and PPP for the dial-up connection. See the PPP tutorial to configure the dial-up connection. Use the ifconfig command to configure the private network. i.e. (as root)

   /sbin/ifconfig eth1 192.168.10.101 netmask 255.255.255.0 broadcast 192.168.10.255

This is often configured during install or can be configured using the Gnome tool neat (or the admin tool Linuxconf or netcfg for older Red Hat systems). System changes made with the ifconfig or route commands are NOT permanent and are lost upon system reboot. Permanent settings are held in configuration scripts executed during system boot. (i.e. /etc/sysconfig/...) See the YoLinux Networking tutorial for more information on assigning network addresses.

Run one of the following scripts on the Linux gateway computer:

iptables:

iptables --flush                         # Flush all the rules in filter and nat tables
iptables --table nat --flush
iptables --delete-chain                  # Delete all chains that are not in default filter and nat table
iptables --table nat --delete-chain

# Set up IP FORWARDing and Masquerading
iptables --table nat --append POSTROUTING --out-interface ppp0 -j MASQUERADE
iptables --append FORWARD --in-interface eth0 -j ACCEPT         # Assuming one NIC to local LAN

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward    # Enables packet forwarding by kernel
            

ipchains:

#!/bin/sh
ipchains -F forward                                # Flush all previous rules and settings
ipchains -P forward DENY                           # Default set to deny packet forwarding
ipchains -A forward -s 192.168.10.0/24 -j MASQ     # Use IP address of gateway for private network
ipchains -A forward -i ppp0 -j MASQ                # Sets up external internet connection
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward             # Enables packet forwarding by kernel
            

A PPP connection as described by the YoLinux PPP tutorial will create the PPP network connection as the default route.


Example 2: Linux connected via DSL, Cable, T1

High speed connections to the internet result in an ethernet connection to the gateway. Thus the gateway is required to possess two ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs), one for the connection to the private internal network and another to the public internet. The ethernet cards are named eth and are numbered uniquely from 0 upward.

Use the ifconfig command to configure both network interfaces.

/sbin/ifconfig eth0 XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX netmask 255.255.255.0 broadcast XXX.XXX.XXX.255  # Internet
/sbin/ifconfig eth1 192.168.10.101 netmask 255.255.255.0 broadcast 192.168.10.255    # Private LAN
            
Also see notes on adding a second NIC.

This is often configured during install or can be configured using the Gnome tool neat (or the admin tool Linuxconf or netcfg for older Red Hat systems). System changes made with the ifconfig or route commands are NOT permanent and are lost upon system reboot. Permanent settings are held in configuration scripts executed during system boot. (i.e. /etc/sysconfig/...) See the YoLinux Networking tutorial for more information on assigning network addresses.

Run the appropriate script on the linux computer where eth0 is connected to the internet and eth1 is connected to a private LAN:

iptables:

# Delete and flush. Default table is "filter". Others like "nat" must be explicitly stated.
iptables --flush            # Flush all the rules in filter and nat tables
iptables --table nat --flush
iptables --delete-chain     # Delete all chains that are not in default filter and nat table
iptables --table nat --delete-chain

# Set up IP FORWARDing and Masquerading
iptables --table nat --append POSTROUTING --out-interface eth0 -j MASQUERADE
iptables --append FORWARD --in-interface eth1 -j ACCEPT

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward             # Enables packet forwarding by kernel
            

ipchains:

#!/bin/sh
ipchains -F forward                                # Flush rules
ipchains -P forward DENY                           # Default set to deny packet forwarding
ipchains -A forward -s 192.168.10.0/24 -j MASQ     # Use IP address of gateway for private network
ipchains -A forward -i eth1 -j MASQ                # Sets up external internet connection
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
            

Create a route for internal packets:

     route add  -net 192.168.10.0  netmask 255.255.255.0 gw XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX dev eth1
Where XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is the internet gateway defined by your ISP. For more information on routing see the YoLinux networking tutorial

Note: While this configuration requires that the Linux gateway computer have two network cards, if you only have one PCI slot available you may use a card such as the Intel Pro 100 or Pro 1000 Dual Port which has two ethernet connections which reside on a single card. (This is what I use) Yolinux Hardware tutorial: More on Network interface cards

icon
Intel PCI Dual Pro 100 or Pro 1000 NIC card supports two physical ethernet connections (eth0, eth1) on one card.
Compliant Standards: IEEE 802.3-LAN, IEEE 802.3U-LAN , Plug and Play
Connectivity Technology: Cable - 10Base-T, 100Base-TX
Data Link Protocol: Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
Processor: 82550 - Intel

   

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Iptables options: (Linux kernel 2.4/2.6 firewall)

General /sbin/iptables format to add rules:
iptables [-t|--table table] -command [chain] [-i interface] [-p protocol] [-s address [port[:port]]] [-d address [port[:port]]] -j policy

Six pre-defined "chain" rules are available:

  • INPUT
  • OUTPUT
  • INPUT
  • FORWARD
  • PREROUTING
  • POSTROUTING
  • User defined chains (just give it a new name instead of one of the pre-defined names)

iptables options:

--table
-t
Description
filter Default table. This is used if not specified
nat Network address translation
mangle Used for Quality Of Service (QOS) and preferential treatment
raw Enables optimization. i.e. Ignore firewall state matching for port 80 for enhanced speed due to less processing. Requires kernel patch
Command
(Use one)
Description
-A
--append
Append rule to chain
-D
--delete
Delete rule from chain
-I
--insert
Insert rule at beginning or at specified sequence number in chain.
-R
--replace
Replace rule
-F
--flush
Flush all rules
-Z
--zero
Zero byte counters in all chains
-L
--list
List all rules.
Add option --line-numbers for rule number.
-N
--new-chain
Create new chain
-X
--delete-chain
Delete user defined chain
-P
--policy
Set default policy for a chain
-E
--rename-chain
Rename a chain
Command Option Description
-s
--source
Source address of packet
-d
--destination
Destination address of packet
-i
--in-interface
Interface packet is arriving from
-o
--out-interface
Interface packet is going to
-p
--protocol
Protocol:
°tcp
--sport port[:port]
--dport port[:port]
--syn
°udp
°icmp
°mac
...
-j
--jump
Target to send packet to
-f
--fragment
Fragment matching
-c
--set-counters
Set packet/byte counter
-m tcp
--match tcp
°--source-port port[:port]
(port # or range #:#)
°--destination-port port[:port]
°--tcp-flags
-m state
--match state
--state
°ESTABLISHED
°RELATED
°NEW
°INVALID
(Push content, not expected to recieve this packet.)
Defined Policies Description
ACCEPT Let packet through
DROP Deny packet with no reply
REJECT Deny packet and notify sender
RETURN Handled by default targets
MARK Used for error response.
Use with option --reject-with type
MASQUERADE Used with nat table and DHCP.
LOG Log to file and specify message:
°--log-level #
°--log-prefix "prefix"
°--log-tcp-sequence
°--log-tcp-options
°--log-ip-options
ULOG Log to file and specify userpace logging messages
SNAT Valid in PREROUTING chain. Used by nat.
REDIRECT Used with nat table. Output.
DNAT Valid in POSTROUTING chain. Output.
QUEUE Pass packet to userspace.

For the full info see the man page for iptables.


Ipchains options: (Linux kernel 2.2 firewall)

General /sbin/ipchains format to add rules:
ipchains -A|I [chain] [-i interface] [-p protocol] [-y] [-s address [port[:port]]] [-d address [port[:port]]] -j policy [-l]

ipchains options:

Command Description
-A Add rule to chain
-D Delete rule from chain
-I Insert rule
-R Replace rule
-F Flush all rules
-L List all rules
-N Create new chain
-X Delete user defined chain
-P Set default targe
Command Option Description
-s Source address of packet
-d Destination address of packet
-i Interface packet is arriving from
-p Protocol
-j Target to send packet to
-y For -p tcp. Packet is SYN packet.
--icmp-type For -p icmp.
-l Log the packet to syslog.
/var/log/messages
Available in default Red Hat 6.0+ kernel
System targets
(policy)
Description
ACCEPT Let packet through
DENY Deny packet
REJECT Deny packet and notify sender
MASQ Forward chain masquerade
REDIRECT Send to different port
RETURN Handled by default targets

Four chain rule types are available:

  • IP input chain
  • IP output chain
  • IP forwarding chain
  • User defined chains (just give it a new name instead of the built-in names: input, output or forward)

For the full info see the man page for ipchains. To add firewall rules read the links provided below.


Configuring PCs on the office network:
  • All PC's on the private office network should set their "gateway" to be the local private network IP address of the Linux gateway computer.
  • The DNS should be set to that of the ISP on the internet.

Windows '95 Configuration:

  • Select "Start" + Settings" + "Control Panel"
  • Select the "Network" icon
  • Select the tab "Configuration" and double click the component "TCP/IP" for the ethernet card. (NOT the TCP/IP -> Dial-Up Adapter)
  • Select the tabs:
    • "Gateway": Use the internal network IP address of the Linux box. (192.168.XXX.XXX)
    • "DNS Configuration": Use the IP addresses of the ISP Domain Name Servers. (Actual internet IP address)
    • "IP Address": The IP address (192.168.XXX.XXX - static) and netmask (typically 255.255.255.0 for a small local office network) of the PC can also be set here.

Linux computers:

  • IP Address: Use ifconfig or netcfg commands to set the IP address and netmask.
    See Assigning an IP address portion of the Networking tutorial.
  • Gateway: The gateway is set with the route command. This can also be set by the GUI tool /usr/bin/netcfg or console tool /usr/sbin/netconfig. It is also stored by the system in the /etc/sysconfig/network file.
  • DNS: Configure file /etc/resolv.conf to set the DNS and default domain.
    See the Network configuration files portion of the Networking tutorial.
  • Simple firewall for the desktop Linux system:
    iptables -P INPUT   DROP
    iptables -P FORWARD DROP
    iptables -A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -j ACCEPT
                        
    Allow network connections which have already been established (started by host) and related to your connection. FTP requires this as it may use various ports in support of the file transfer.)
    Allow network input/output from self (lo).


Adding more security rules to your gateway:

iptables:

Deny a specific host: iptables -I INPUT -s XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX -j DROP

Block ports by adding the following firewall rules:

# Allow loopback access. This rule must come before the rules denying port access!!
iptables -A INPUT  -i lo -p all -j ACCEPT  # Rule for your computer to be able to access itself via the loopback
iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -p all -j ACCEPT

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 2049 -j DROP       # Block NFS
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 2049 -j DROP       # Block NFS
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 6000:6009 -j DROP  # Block X-Windows
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 7100 -j DROP       # Block X-Windows font server
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 515 -j DROP        # Block printer port
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 515 -j DROP        # Block printer port
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 111 -j DROP        # Block Sun rpc/NFS
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 --dport 111 -j DROP        # Block Sun rpc/NFS
iptables -A INPUT -p all -s localhost  -i eth0 -j DROP            # Deny packets which claim to be from your loopback interface.
            
These rules may be executed on their own to protect your system while attached to the internet or they may be appended to the end of the iptables gateway NAT scripts above.

Debugging and logging:

iptables -A INPUT -j LOG --log-prefix "INPUT_DROP: "
iptables -A OUTPUT -j LOG --log-prefix "OUTPUT_DROP: "
            
Add this to the end of your rules and you should be able to monitor dropped connections in /var/log/messages. I do NOT log in this method due to the outrageous volume of messages it generates. Use this for debugging or short term monitoring of the network.


Another approach to firewalls is to drop everything and then grant access to each port you may need.

iptables -F
iptables -A INPUT -i lo -p all -j ACCEPT                       # Allow self access by loopback interface
iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -p all -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT # Accept established connections
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --tcp-option ! 2 -j REJECT --reject-with tcp-reset
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 21 -j ACCEPT          # Open ftp port
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -i eth0 --dport 21 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 22 -j ACCEPT          # Open secure shell port
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -i eth0 --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 80 -j ACCEPT          # Open HTTP port
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -i eth0 --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --syn -s 192.168.10.0/24 --destination-port 139 -j ACCEPT   # Accept local Samba connection
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --syn -s trancas --destination-port 139 -j ACCEPT
iptables -P INPUT DROP               # Drop all other connection attempts. Only connections defined above are allowed.
            


ipchains:

This script configures firewall rules for a Linux computer with two ethernet ports. One port connects the computer to the internet with an external address of XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX. The other ethernet port connects the computer to an internal network of 192.168.10.0 to 192.168.10.255. This script is more complex but preferred to the previous scripts because of the extra security that the extra firewall rules offer. The script does work with a system running portsentry. For more on portsentry see the YoLinux Internet Security: portsentry Tutorial.

Internet external network interface: eth0
Internal private network interface: eth1
Local loopback virtual interface: lo

Gateway script for ipchains firewall and NAT:

#!/bin/sh

# Flush Rules
ipchains -F forward 
ipchains -F output 
ipchains -F input 

# Set default to deny all
ipchains -P input   DENY
ipchains -P output  DENY 
ipchains -P forward DENY 

# Add Rules

# Accept packets from itself (localhost) (s)ource to itself (d)estination
# Keeps system logging, X-Windows or any socket based service working.
ipchains -A input  -j ACCEPT -p all -s localhost -d localhost -i lo
ipchains -A output -j ACCEPT -p all -s localhost -d localhost -i lo

# Deny and log (option -l) spoofed packets from external network (eth0) which mimic internal IP addresses
ipchains -A input -j REJECT -p all -s 192.168.10.0/24 -i eth0 -l

# Accept requests/responses from/to your own firewall machine
ipchains -A input   -j ACCEPT -p all -d XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX -i eth0
ipchains -A output  -j ACCEPT -p all -s XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX -i eth0

# Allow outgoing packets source (s) to destination (d)
ipchains -A input   -j ACCEPT -p all -s 192.168.10.0/24 -i eth1
ipchains -A output  -j ACCEPT -p all -s 192.168.10.0/24 -i eth1

# Deny and log (option -l) outside packets from internet which claim to be from your loopback interface
ipchains -A input  -j REJECT -p all -s localhost  -i eth0 -l

ipchains -A forward -s 192.168.10.0/24 -j MASQ
ipchains -A forward -i eth1 -j MASQ

# Enable  packet forwarding
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
            

Notes:

  • For this example it was assumed that your private network is from 192.168.10.0 to 192.168.10.255
  • The -d 0.0.0.0/0 refers to all or any destination address of packet. (destination in this case is irrelevant and the -d statement may be omitted))
  • localhost refers to your loopback interface on 127.0.0.1


Red Hat 7.1 will configure firewall rules as an option during installation. Note that the firewall rules are generated for ipchains. The configuration tool /usr/bin/gnome-lokkit was used to perform this setup.

Example of the security configuration: /etc/sysconfig/ipchains
This is the configuration file for the script /etc/rc.d/init.d/ipchains (which calls /sbin/ipchains-restore) which may be invoked during system boot.

# Firewall configuration written by lokkit
# Manual customization of this file is not recommended.
# Note: ifup-post will punch the current nameservers through the
#       firewall; such entries will *not* be listed here.
:input ACCEPT
:forward ACCEPT
:output ACCEPT
-A input -s 0/0 -d 0/0 80 -p tcp -y -j ACCEPT                # Allow WWW http access to web server
-A input -s 0/0 -d 0/0 22 -p tcp -y -j ACCEPT                # Allow SSH (Secure Shell) access
-A input -s 0/0 67:68 -d 0/0 67:68 -p udp -i eth0 -j ACCEPT  # Allow DHCP/BOOTPC
-A input -s 0/0 67:68 -d 0/0 67:68 -p udp -i eth1 -j ACCEPT  
-A input -s 0/0 -d 0/0 -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A input -s 0/0 -d 0/0 -i eth1 -j ACCEPT  # eth1 internal network access OK. External eth0 goes through firewall rules
-A input -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 0:1023 -y -j REJECT    # This shuts off telnet,FTP,bind...! Use for a workstation only
-A input -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 2049 -y -j REJECT
-A input -p udp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 0:1023 -j REJECT       # Workstation only or explicitly ports as above with 80, 22
-A input -p udp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 2049 -j REJECT         # Block NFS
-A input -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 6000:6009 -y -j REJECT # Block remote X-Window connections
-A input -p tcp -s 0/0 -d 0/0 7100 -y -j REJECT      # Block remote font server connections
            
Note: Once ipchains have been invoked for kernel 2.4 (RH 7.1), one may NOT use iptables. You may use one or the other but not both.


Save/restore an tables/ipchains configuration:

  • IpTables: iptables-save man page
    /sbin/iptables-save > /etc/sysconfig/iptables.rules
    /sbin/iptables-restore < /etc/sysconfig/iptables.rules

  • IpChains: ipchains-save man page
    /sbin/ipchains-save > /etc/sysconfig/ipchains.rules
    /sbin/ipchains-restore < /etc/sysconfig/ipchains.rules

The system init script looks for the file name /etc/sysconfig/ipchains instead of /etc/sysconfig/ipchains.rules. This will make the rules accessible to the init script which will invoke the rules upon system boot. See the YoLinux Init process tutorial for more information on init scripts and system boot procedures.

Also see: how to turn off ICMP and look invisible to ping.


proc file settings:

  • Turning on Linux kernel support for spoof and DOS (Denial Of Service) protection:

       echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_syncookies
    Must first be compiled into kernel. (Included in Redhat default kernel) By default the Redhat install has this disabled (set to 0). This helps to prevent against the common 'syn flood attack'. A connecting computer (peer) may not receive reliable error messages from an over loaded server with syncookies enabled.

    For more on SYS cookies see: CERT Advisory CA-96.21

  • Turn on Source Address Verification: (Off by default on Red Hat install - set to 0)
       echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/eth0/rp_filter
    OR echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/all/rp_filter

    State the interface appropriate for your installation.
    The first example prevents spoofing attacks against your external networks only.

    IP spoofing is a technique where a host sends out packets which claim to be from another host. It is also used to hide the identity of the attacker.

The TCP Man page - Linux Programmer's Manual and /usr/src/linux/proc.txt [link] (Kernel 2.4) cover /proc/sys/net/ipv4/* file descriptions.

Also see:


IP Forwading Notes:

Choose one of the following to allow the Linux kernel to forward IP packets:

  1. Immediately allow the forwarding of packets. The configuration is not preserved on reboot but sets a flag in the kernel itself.
        echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

  2. Another method is to alter the Linux kernel config file: /etc/sysctl.conf
    Set the following value:
        net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
    This will configure the system to allow forwarding of packets upon system boot. It is stored in this configuration file and thus read and set upon system boot. If set to "0" then there will be no forwarding of packets.

  3. An alternate method is to alter the network script: /etc/sysconfig/network
         FORWARD_IPV4=true
    Change the default "false" to "true".

All the above methods will result in a proc file value of "1" to allow TCP packet forwarding. Options 2 and 3 set boot configurations in a configuration file and will not take effect until system boot.
Test the current setting of the kernel: cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

Note: The /proc directory is NOT on your hard drive but is present in the running kernel.


CIDR Notation:

The notation "/24" refers to the use of the first 24 bits of a 32 IP address. The is the equivalent of using the bitmask 255.255.255.0. To put it another way, it specifies a range of IP addresses: 0 to 255 for the last octet while the first three remain constant.

Example: 192.168.103.0/24 refers to the IP address range 192.168.103.0 to 192.168.103.255

The notation "/32" refers to a single IP address as it implies that all 32 bits of the IP address are significant.


Configuration Tools:

GUI tools and scripts exist to help you with the configuration of ipchains. See:

  • Firestarter - Configuration of firewall and real-time hit monitor for the Gnome desktop. Configures ipchains (kernel 2.2) and iptables (kernel 2.4)
  • Firewall Builder - iptables, ipfilter and OpenBSD PF. (GTK--)

Included with Red Hat 7.x is the Gnome GUI tool gnome-lokkit. (ipchains)

Tools for iptables configuration:


Links and information:

iptables:

ipchains:

Relevant networking links:

Linux Based Routers:


SOCKS Proxy Servers:

I can no longer find the NEC reference implementation but here are some other SOCKS proxy server options for Linux:

One may also configure ssh to provide SOCKS5 proxy capability:
ssh -f -N -D 0.0.0.0:1080 localhost
Where:
  • -D: port forwarding on port 1080. The IP address 0.0.0.0 specifies the socket option INADDR_ANY which means that it is listeneing for connections from any IP address.
  • -N: stays idle and does not allow for the execution of commands on localhost
  • -f: Run in the background as a daemon
Iptables can be used to further restrict IP sources accessing port 1080 and add further security constraints.


Books:

"Linux Firewalls"
by Robert L. Ziegler, Carl Constaintine
ISBN #0735710996, New Riders 10/2001

Second edition. (Focus: iptables) This is the most up to date version of this book. It highlights the recent changes to the Linux 2.4 kernel (including iptables). It also includes coverage of VPS's and SSH. Scripts and examples are provided for almost any condition or purpose one may require. I highly recommend this book for anyone concerned about internet security.

Amazon.com
"Linux Firewalls"
Robert L. Ziegler
ISBN #0-7357-0900-9, New Riders 11/1999

First edition. (Focus: ipchains) Most complete Linux firewall/security book in publication. Covers ipchains, bind and a complete review of possible firewall configurations. A newer version of this book has been released. See the above book.

Amazon.com
"Red Hat Linux Firewalls"
Bill McCarty
ISBN #0764524631, John Wiley and Sons

Red Hat Press

Amazon.com
"Linux iptables Pocket Reference"
by Gregor N. Purdy
ISBN #0596005695, O'Reilly; 1 edition (November, 2004)

Amazon.com
"LINUX Routers: A Primer for Network Administrators"
by Tony Mancill
ISBN #0130090263, Prentice Hall PTR; 2 edition (June 15, 2002)

Amazon.com

Copyright © 2000 - 2011 by Greg Ippolito