Week 2: Studying similar firewall applications and their patterns.

As I discussed in my previous post,the task for me to complete was to find patterns in the existing firewall applications that are widely used. Although I enlisted eight similar applications,I focussed only on four of the eight firewall applications. Below,you will find the features of each firewall along with images of their applications. All the images belong to the blogs/websites linked.

1.)IPFire

2.) OPNSense

3.)Smoothwall

4.)Untangle

Terminologies used:

1)GeoIP Blocking: Blocks visitors by countries.

2)NAT (Network Address Translation) : Network address translation involves converting one IP address into another while the data packets are in transition across routing devices.

3.) Protocol controlling: Information exchanged between devices or networks follow certain protocols. Each protocol is specific to the work assigned. For example:email routing is done by Simple Mail Transfer Protocol(SMTP),Post Office Protocol(POP3) or Internet Message Access Protocol(IMAP). Each of these have their ports assigned which is used by the protocols. SMTP uses Port 25,POP3 uses Port 110 and IMAP uses Port 143.

4) IDS( Intrusion detection system): IDS is a device or a software application that can detect malicious activities within a network. While a firewall monitors attacks on the system from other devices/networks,IDS alerts the system if there is any malicious activity that the firewall could not prevent or has been originated in the system itself.

5) VPN( virtual private networks): A VPN is a network technology that can create a secure network connection over a public network ( such as the internet). OpenVPN is an open source application that executes VPN methods.

6)Traffic Shaper: Traffic shaping is done to delay some or all datagram packets over a network.

7) Port Forwarding : Port forwarding is an application of network address translation(NAT) often used to connect to a specific computer or service within a private local network.

Now,let’s move on to the firewall applications and their features:

1.) IPFire:

Features:

  • Default firewall rules
  • GeoIP blocking
  • NAT
  • Group based firewall rules
  • Firewall logs
  • Protocol controlling
  • Configure rules ( add/delete ports,create group restricted rules ,port forwarding etc)
  • IDS
  • OpenVPN
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2.) OPNSense

Features:

  • Default firewall rules ( category based)
  • Configuration
  • Alerts
  • Schedules
  • Protocol control
  • NAT
  • Queues
  • Traffic Shaper
  • Aliases
  • IDS
  • Virtual IP
  • OpenVPN
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3.)Smoothwall:

  • IP-Block
  • Timed-access ( scheduling)
  • Configure firewall rules
  • IDS
  • Logs
  • Port Forward
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    4.) Untangle

  • Configure firewall rules
  • Current rules
  • Reports
  • NAT

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Comparison of features of selected firewalls:

screenshot-from-2016-12-13-14-03-20

 

My research methods,initially,were wrong. After finding similar firewall applications,I would have installed each and every firewall to study it if not for my mentors. As hilarious as it may sound,I forgot that I could always Google for tutorials related to these firewalls. I have linked all the blogs and websites that I referred to along with the images used.

Now that the similar features have been listed,it is clear that including some features like default firewall rules,configuration ,port control,protocol controls,port forwarding, NAT and logs is necessary. The inclusion of other features differs from the requirements of users of each firewall. Although it would be nice to have all the features in a single firewall application,this requires to list the requirements and user stories. Hopefully,that should be completed by next Tuesday.

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