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Best 10 Linux Firewall Solutions in 2022

Every IT system requires protection. Online servers, like home computers, can be targeted for cyberattacks. You'll need a technique to keep hackers and other unauthorized traffic out. This is when firewalls come into play. In a nutshell, what is a firewall? It stands between a computer and the "outside world". Technically, a firewall is a piece of software or hardware that blocks unauthorized network access. It examines incoming and outgoing traffic using a set of rules to detect and prevent threats.

Linux runs over 75% of the world's servers, these solutions are critical for providing safe access to users and end consumers. Let's begin with a definition of Linux to better comprehend the fundamentals of a Linux firewall. Linux is the most widely used and well-known open-source operating system. Linux is an operating system that lies below all other software on a computer, accepting requests from other applications and transmitting them to the hardware. A Linux firewall is a solution or service that controls, protects, and restricts network traffic flowing into and out of a Linux-based environment.

In this article, we are going to introduce the best 10 Linux firewalls.

  1. Zenarmor
  2. Endian Firewall
  3. Gufw Firewall
  4. IPFire
  5. Nebero Systems Linux Firewall
  6. Shorewall
  7. Untangle Next-Generation Firewall
  8. Vuurmuur
  9. VyOS
  10. Smoothwall Express

1. Zenarmor

Zenarmor, formerly Sensei, is a simple-to-install plugin that converts an open-source firewall into a Next-Generation Firewall. For open-source firewalls, Zenarmor provides cutting-edge, next-generation firewall features that aren't currently accessible in solutions like OPNsense and pfSense® software. Zenarmor Release 1.8 has supported pfSense® since March 2021. The FreeBSD operating system underpins the pfSense® operating system. In this case, the Zenarmor FreeBSD 12 package for the pfSense® software 2.5.x release series can be used. Zenarmor is a robust and cost-effective firewall that includes features like Application Control, Network Analytics, and TLS Inspection, among others.

Zenarmor

Figure 1. Zenarmor

Sunny Valley Networks wants its product to function in any networking environment that processes Layer 3-4 traffic, whether it's a container, cloud, virtual, or bare-metal deployment (firewalls, switches, UTMs). As of March 2021, the platforms supported include OPNsense®/pfSense® firewalls, Centos, AlmaLinux, Debian, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD. To put it another way, Zenarmor gives IT managers a variety of platform options to choose from, based on their hardware, technical backgrounds, and budgets. They can choose the operating system and hardware for their firewall that best suits their demands.

The primary features of Zenarmor are listed below:

  • Cloud Threat Intelligence
  • Application Control
  • Web Filtering
  • Real-time auto-blocking of recent malware/phishing outbreaks.
  • User-friendly web and application categorization system with a massive and up-to-date database.
  • Centralized Cloud management is a very useful and appealing feature for security administrators who have a large number of firewalls to manage.
  • Rich reporting and analytics which provides network visibility.
  • User-based and device-based filtering is very useful for managing schools and campus networks.
  • Time-scheduled policies are an extremely useful feature, particularly for managing internet bandwidth.

2. Endian Firewall Community (EFW)

Endian Firewall Community (EFW) is a turn-key Linux-based security software application for the home that can turn any underutilized hardware device into a fully functional Unified Threat Management (UTM) system. Endian Community was created with the goal of making security easy and assisting in the protection of home networks via the use of open-source software.

Endian Firewall CE dashboard

Figure 2. Endian Firewall CE dashboard

  • A Powerful Firewall: Protect your network against Internet risks while allowing proper access to internal and external resources.
  • VPN (SSL & IPSec): Give your staff remote access and link numerous offices with our easy and secure VPN connection.
  • Email Security: Spam, phishing, and other dangerous email should all be removed from your network. Protect your company against all of the current email dangers.
  • Antivirus: Detects and prevents infections in both web and email traffic at the gateway. Protect your network from the most recent Internet attacks.
  • Intrusion Prevention (IPS): A robust shield that analyzes traffic flows to defend your network from internal and external attacks.
  • Multi-WAN (Wide Area Network) (with Failover): Connecting several Internet connections to your network will make it more dependable. It's possible to use it in a basic failover arrangement or all at once.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): Take control of your network bandwidth use and prioritize business-critical apps such as VoIP, web, and email.
  • Centralized Management: Endian Management Center (EMC) give opportunities to manage your Endian Appliances centrally.
  • Reporting: View real-time and historical information for all of your critical network traffic, including web use reports for the day, week, and month.

You can deploy Endian on 3 different environments:

  1. Appliance Hardware: From branch offices and industrial facilities to big networks, a comprehensive variety of specially built gadgets that integrate with UTM software for security demands.
  2. Virtual: VMware, Xen/XenServer, Hyper-V, and KVM are examples of virtual appliances.
  3. Appliance Software: You may transform your gear into an Endian UTM appliance with full functionality.

3. Gufw Firewall

UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) is an easy-to-use firewall with a lot of features for most users. It's an interface for iptables, which is the traditional (and more difficult to master) technique of configuring network rules. GUFW is a graphical management tool for Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW).

You must have the Universe repository enabled in order to install Gufw. Use Synaptic or run the following comand from terminal to install:

sudo apt-get install gufw

GUFW

Figure 3. GUFW

note

You may also find more information about UFW on the following articles written by Sunny Valley Networks:

4. IPFire

IPFire is a fortified open-source Linux distribution with a firewall and router as its primary function. Configuration is done using a web-based administration portal. For any individual or company network, the IPFire Linux Firewall is one of the best and most effective open-source firewalls available. Read our Best Open Source Firewalls article for more information on IPFire.

Some of the main features of IPFire can be listed as;

  • Security: IPFire's main goal is to keep you safe. The firewall engine and Intrusion Detection System are simple to set up and prevent intruders from entering into your network. To control risks inside the network and have unique configuration for the individual needs of each segment of the network, the network is separated into several zones with distinct security rules such as a LAN and DMZ in the default setup.
  • Firewall: IPFire is based on Netfilter, the Linux packet filtering framework, and uses a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall. It filters packets quickly and has throughputs in the tens of gigabits per second range.
  • IPS/IDS: The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) of IPFire analyzes network traffic to look for exploits, data leaks, and other suspicious behaviour. Alerts are raised when an attacker is detected, and the attacker is instantly blocked.
  • VPN: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) use an encrypted link to connect remote sites like data centers, branch offices, or outsourced infrastructure. IPFire enables employees to operate remotely as if they were in the office, giving them quick and secure access to the resources they require.
  • Add-ons: It may be extended using add-ons, which are deployed using IPFire's proprietary package management system, Pakfire, to give more capabilities. Administrators can use add-ons as command-line tools, or they can be used to enhance the system's capabilities. These are some of them:
  • Turning IPFire into a Wireless Access Point
  • Tools for Monitoring and System Health Management
  • Backup, File and Print Services
  • Running a Tor node
  • Proxies and Relays for various protocols

IPFire

Figure 4. IPFire

If you think about why I should use ipfire, you can look at some advantages listed below.

  • Simple to Use: IPFire's cutting-edge firewall makes even the most complicated business networks simple to handle.
  • Designed Security: Whether you're a little business or a huge corporation, IPFire was built with the objective of offering excellent security while staying modular and versatile. You can rest certain that IPFire will keep your network safe from a variety of security threats.
  • Package Management System: With a single click, PakFire, IPFire's integrated packet management system, can update the whole system. It's a quicker and more efficient way to apply patches, bug fixes, and feature updates to IPFire, making it more effective and secure.
  • Improved Performance: IPFire performs well on embedded software and has been shown to deliver greater performance and operate equally on a variety of applications.
  • Simple Installation: IPFire installation takes less than half an hour, and the expert features are quite simple to use.
  • Open Source: IPFire is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. It has a big development community that is always trying to make it better.

You may also find more information about how you can install IPFire firewall on the IPFire Installation Tutorial written by Sunny Valley Networks.

5. Nebero Systems Linux Firewall

Nebero UTM is a multi-faceted threat management solution that is designed on Linux to ensure network security. Nebero combines numerous security products into an one package, including a next-generation firewall, web application firewall, intrusion prevention and detection system, bandwidth management, web filtering, secure VPN, gateway anti-virus, and anti-spam.

Features:

  • Next Generation Firewall Protection
  • Web Filtering
  • Intrusion Prevention and Detection System
  • Bandwidth Management
  • Web Application Firewall
  • Reporting & Analytics
  • Secure Virtual Private Network

Benefits:

  • Reduces operating expenses and eliminates network security threats.
  • At many levels, multi-dimensional protection is provided.
  • For a variety of network security requirements, a single package is available.
  • Failover can be used to combine several Internet connections.
  • Data logging for forensic purposes.
  • Monitoring in Real Time (Bandwidth usage, URLs, On-line users, Connections).
  • Set up the mail server, FTP server, and file server.
  • Thin Client support and logs.
  • Integrate with Active Directory/LDAP/SSO (Google, Facebook, etc.) authentication services.
  • High Availability (HA) Cluster deployment.
  • In a virtualized environment, use UTM.
  • Data leak protection and DR/BCP mechanisms are built-in.
  • Allows for the adoption of a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy
  • Product license with an unlimited number of users

 Nebero Firewall features

Figure 5. Nebero Firewall features

Prices change from the range $1,055 to $4,690 as of the date of writing this article.

6. Shorewall

The Shoreline Firewall, sometimes known as "Shorewall," is a high-level Netfilter configuration tool. Shorewall can be installed on a standalone GNU/Linux system, a specialized firewall system, or a multi-function gateway/router/server. Shorewall is mostly utilized in network installations because of its capacity to deal with "zones" such as the DMZ or a "net" zone. Each zone would therefore have its own set of restrictions, making it simple to have looser standards on the workplace intranet while clamping down on Internet traffic.

You could wish to construct a secret internal network that only specified machines can access, a guest network that everyone can access, a network devoted to production machines, and a network that can be accessed from computers outside your Local Area Network, for example (LAN). This is simple to accomplish with Shorewall.

Features (Shorewall 5.0):

  • For stateful packet filtering, it employs Netfilter's connection tracking capabilities.
  • It's suitable for a wide range of router, firewall, and gateway applications.
  • Administrates the firewall from a centralized location.
  • It is possible to blacklist specific IP addresses and subnetworks.
  • Support for VPN Tunnels based on IPsec, GRE, IPIP, and OpenVPN, Clients and servers that use the PPTP protocol
  • Support for traffic shaping and control.
  • Address Verification for Media Access Control (MAC) is available
  • Traffic Accounting
  • Support for bridges and firewalls
  • IPv6 Support (Shorewall 5.0.6 and after) works with a variety of virtualization solutions, including KVM, Xen, Linux-Vserver, OpenVZ, VirtualBox, LXC, and Docker (Shorewall 5.0.6 and later).

Shorewall is free software, which means you can share and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2, or (at your choice) any subsequent version issued by the Free Software Foundation.

7. Untangle NG Firewall Complete

Untangle is NGFW/UTM software that includes features such as web content and spam filtering, malware scanning, VPN connectivity, multi-WAN failover, and more.

The Untangle NG Firewall platform is intended to function similarly to an app store. Applications, like apps on a smartphone, are modules that add functionality to the NG Firewall platform. NG Firewall's robust, versatile Integrated Rules EngineTM allows all of the programs to function together, even when each app has a distinct role, such as filtering spam or preventing virus infections.

Free Features:

  • Ad Blocker
  • Captive Portal
  • Firewall
  • Intrusion Prevention
  • OpenVPN
  • Phish Blocker
  • Reports
  • Web Monitor

Paid Features:

  • Application Control
  • Bandwidth Control
  • Directory Connector
  • IPsec VPN
  • Policy Manager
  • Spam Blocker
  • SSL Inspector
  • Virus Blocker
  • WAN Balancer
  • WAN Failover
  • Web Cache
  • Web Filter

Untangle Appliances

Figure 6. Untangle Appliances

Untangle appliances are plug-and-play, with options ranging from silent, small-footprint desktop devices to 2U rackmount servers appropriate for the data center.

Untangle Command Center is a cloud-based centralized management system that lets you manage your Next-Generation Firewall deployments from any web browser.

8. Vuurmuur

Vuurmuur is a firewall manager for Linux that is built on top of iptables. It offers an easy-to-learn setup that supports both simple and sophisticated settings. The setup may be fully customized using a Ncurses GUI, which enables safe remote administration through SSH or on the console.

Features:

Vuurmuur is a powerful firewall manager for Linux. It works with iptables on Linux.

Administration:

  • no iptables knowledge required
  • human readable rules syntax
  • IPv6
  • traffic shaping
  • Ncurses GUI, no X required.
  • port forwarding is made very simple
  • easy to setup in with NAT
  • secure default policy
  • entirely manageable through ssh and from the console (including from windows using PuTTY)
  • scriptable for integration with other tools
  • can produce a bash firewall script
  • anti-spoofing features
  • killing of unwanted connections
  • supports working with Suricata IPS using NFQUEUE or NFLOG

Monitoring:

  • real-time log viewing
  • real-time connection viewing
  • filtering in log viewing and connection viewing
  • basic traffic volume accounting
  • searching through old log files

Accounting:

  • audit logging: all changes are logged
  • logging of new connections and bad packets
  • traffic volume accounting

Vuurmuur timeline

Figure 7. Vuurmuur timeline

The disadvantage of this Linux Firewall is that not been updated since 2019

9. VyOS

VyOS is an enterprise-grade router platform that is completely open-source. VyOS began in 2013 as a community fork of the defunct Vyatta Core project, with the intention.

VyOS is a unified management interface that brings together the GNU/Linux operating system with a variety of open networking tools. It has a command-line interface similar to hardware routers, as well as an HTTP API and configurable scripting libraries of upholding free and open-source software ideals.

VyOS Dashboard

Figure 8. VyOS Dashboard

VyOS operates on a variety of virtualization systems, including KVM, Xen, Citrix XenServer, VirtualBox, VMware, and Microsoft Hyper-V, in addition to bare-metal x86-64 servers, with paravirtual drivers included in the images for the greatest performance.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform all provide it.

Features:

  • BGP (IPv4 and IPv6), OSPF (v2 and v3), RIP and RIPng, policy-based routing are some routing features
  • VPN, IPsec, VTI, VXLAN, L2TPv3, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP servers, tunnel interfaces (GRE, IPIP, SIT), OpenVPN in client, server, or site-to-site mode, WireGuard is the VPN features of VyOS
  • As Firewall feature; Stateful firewalls, zone-based firewall, all types of source and destination NAT
  • Network services like DHCP and DHCPv6 server and relay, IPv6 RA, DNS forwarding, TFTP server, web proxy, PPPoE access concentrator, NetFlow/sFlow sensor, QoS are available.
  • VRRP for IPv4 and IPv6, ability to execute custom health checks and transition scripts; ECMP, stateful load balancing as High availability solution
  • External configuration backup tools are no longer necessary thanks to built-in versioning and archiving.
  • Fully open-source; anybody may audit, make customized images, and contribute to the codebase and build a toolchain.

10. Smoothwall Express

Smoothwall is a collection of Internet security technologies that protect your users and network from external threats. Smoothwall Express is a Linux-based firewall solution. There is no need to install a separate operating system because Smoothwall includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system. Smoothwall is designed for ease of use, with a web-based GUI that requires no prior knowledge of Linux to install or use.

Smoothwall is a private software firm based in the United Kingdom that specializes in web content filtering, safeguarding, and internet security solutions, as well as maintaining the SmoothWall open source project.

Smoothwall started out as Smoothwall GPL, an open-source version that could be freely redistributed. Smoothwall LTD began selling a proprietary version in November 2001, which was released in August 2000. Smoothwall Express is still accessible today (latest release V3.1 in 2014), but the main Smoothwall solution is now paid for and used by millions of people across the world in both the public and private sectors. Smoothwall's filtering and security solutions are mostly sold to educational institutions and corporations.

Its developers announced on August 5, 2021, that they have agreed to sell their Smoothwall investment to Australian security firm Family Zone Cyber Safety for 75.5 million Pound Sterling ($142 million cash consideration). The transaction was concluded on August 17, 2021, with the deferred remainder of the sale price of 10.5 million Pound Sterling paid on September 1, 2021.

Which Firewall is Most Commonly Used on Linux?

The most widely used command-line-based firewall is Iptables/Netfilter. It is the initial line of defense for the security of a Linux server. It's used by many system administrators to fine-tune their systems. Within the kernel, it filters packets in the network stack.

What is the Default Firewall for Linux?

In Linux, there is a built-in firewall called iptables. It is a user-friendly program that allows you to configure the tables offered by the Linux kernel firewall. The default firewall installed with Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora Linux, and other distributions is iptables. For different protocols, separate modules and programs are needed, such as iptables for IPv4, ip6tables for IPv6, and so on.

Here are the IPTables commands you'll need to set up a firewall on your server as a brief.

  1. How to list the current rules of iptables:
sudo iptables -L
  1. How to change the default policy:
sudo iptables -P Chain_name Action_to_be_taken

Example:

sudo iptables -P FORWARD DROP
  1. How to clear/flush all the rules
sudo iptables -F
  1. How to append a rule at the end of the chain:
sudo iptables -A
  1. How to append a rule at the start of the chain:
sudo iptables -I
  1. How to implement a ACCEPT rule:-
sudo iptables -A/-I chain_name -s source_ip -j action_to_take

Example:

iptables -A INPUT -s 192.168.1.3 -j ACCEPT
  1. How to implement a DROP rule:-
sudo iptables -A/-I chain_name -s source_ip -j action_to_take

Example:

iptables -A INPUT -s 192.168.1.3 -j DROP
  1. How to Implement rules on specific ports/protocols:-
sudo iptables -A/-I chain_name -s source_ip -p protocol_name --dport port_number -j Action_to_take

Example:

sudo iptables -I INPUT -s 192.168.1.3 -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
  1. How to delete a rule:-
sudo iptables -D chain_name rule_number

Example:

sudo iptables -D INPUT 1
  1. How to save the configuration:-
sudo invoke-rc.d iptables-persistent save

Is It Easy to Install a Firewall on Linux?

The short answer is YES. How?

A firewall is a computer component that prevents specific network traffic from entering or leaving your computer.

There are two basic types of firewalls:

Hardware firewall refers to the physical equipment that is solely used to safeguard your network (and the computers on your network).

Software firewall is an individual computer subsystems that solely safeguard the hosting machine.

A mix of the two is required for networks to function.

On the software side, your desktop computer has a software firewall installed. An uncomplicated Firewall is one such firewall that can be installed and used on a variety of Linux distributions (including Ubuntu and its variants) (UFW). Simple Firewall is exactly what it says on the tin. It's a simple utility that makes controlling network traffic blocking and permitting a breeze. UFW is a command-line-only utility that does an excellent job of securing your Linux system.

If you discover that UFW isn't installed, you can install a firewall on Linux just by using the following command.

sudo apt-get install ufw -y

Which package is required for the installation of a Linux firewall?

Iptables is almost always included with any Linux distribution. If you don't have it on your Linux server, you can simply retrieve the iptables package to update/install it.

You may find more information about how to install iptables package on Best Open Source Firewalls article written by Sunny Valley Networks.