How does one...?
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  1. #1
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    Question How does one...?

    Maybe this has been covered and if it has, someone please point me to it.
    How does one turn an old windows 98 system and computer tower into a hardware firewall? Is it possible? Or would it be better to load a linux os and use it as a firewall? And if that is better, which one? I would use it between windows xp and a dsl modem.
    cybnut

  2. #2
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    Load Smoothwall or a similar Linux distro on it.


    Windows 98 is a horrible platform for any sort of network operation.


    Check out LinuxISO for more distributions.

  3. #3
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    Download and install Smoothwall or IPCop works great. They are stripped down versions of Linux, have Snort, IP Tables, etc. and they are free. I'm using Smoothwall right now and have been for years.

    cheers

    edit: Gotta type faster I guess, and d0pp was using only one hand

    You'll need one linux compatable nic in the XP box and two in the older box. The installation instructions will describe their categorization and purpose.
    Connection refused, try again later.

  4. #4
    Dissident 4dm1n brokencrow's Avatar
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    You might also check out ClarkConnect Home, too. It will give you additional server functions like webhosting and ftp. I've used all three mentioned here so far (Smoothwall, IPcop, and CC Home). Obviously, to function as a firewall/gateway, you'll need two nics. Make sure they're PCI and run at 100 mbps. I highly recommend Intel Pros.
    “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” — Will Rogers

  5. #5
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    Just so we don't get into that hardware/software firewall discussion again, how about we just call it a dedicated firewall box?

    Fred Brown indicated that this would just be a firewall, between a Windows XP box and DSL modem.
    Make sure they're PCI and run at 100 mbps.
    I'm curious why you said that. Most cable and DSL modems I've run across have ethernet connections that are 10 Mbps, they are capped at much less then that. Yes, PCI is a better interface and probably much more widely supported now, but if all he has in that box are ISA slots there is nothing wrong with using some old 10 Mbps ISA cards. Just check with whatever distro you decide to use and see if they have a compatible hardware list. ( also check with the modem requirements. )

    I use 10/100 cards, haven't had to compile a custom module for one in linux for about five years: all have been recognized during installation.

    I can not suggest any particular firewall front-end such as those mentioned, since I have never used them. I install a distro, ( Linux or BSD, ) harden it, then build the firewall rules manually, so I am no help for you there. But since you did not give specs on the box, I will make some recommendations.

    If you are not going to run a GUI ( like X-windows ):
    minimum of Pentium 233 ( or equivalent ) or better
    minimum of 128 meg memory

    If you are going to run a GUI:
    minimum of Pentium II 400 ( or equivalent )
    minimum of 256 meg memory

    These aren't cast in stone, just my recommendations. My current firewall box was a Pentium 233, now Pentium 120 ( don't ask. ) I can definitely notice the 120 start to strain when one son starts a Limewire program and the other Bittorrent while my wife is watching streaming video news casts over a cable modem, capped, so I am told, at 6 Mbps, although I have never seen that kind of throughput. The 233 didn't flinch ( although my sons do when I read the logs and see what was going on. )
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

  6. #6
    Just Another Geek
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    Originally posted here by IKnowNot
    If you are not going to run a GUI ( like X-windows ):
    minimum of Pentium 233 ( or equivalent ) or better
    minimum of 128 meg memory
    Hmmm... My FreeBSD (4.x) firewall (for home/xDSL use) was running quite happily on a Pentium 90MHz, 24MB RAM and a 160MB harddrive.. I had to ditch it only because the Mobo died on me

    It's been replaced by a P-II 350MHz, 256MB, 6GB HDD running FreeBSD 6-STABLE..
    Load averages never exceed 0.1 eventhough I download a lot, run snort on it and what not..
    Unfortunately it refuses to recognise my PCI WLAN card..
    Oliver's Law:
    Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  7. #7
    There are a lot of Linux distributions for "the perfect firewall", I'm not verry current with things but I suggest going to http://distrowatch.org/ if you really want to know.
    The access to the computer or
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  8. #8
    Member ams2d's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by d0pp

    Check out LinuxISO for more distributions.
    Just pointing out that the site mentioned doesn't seem to be updating the ISO or the links any longer. It was a good resource to see what may be out there but you may have to either click on the site links for the most up-to-date versions (like Knoppix) or do a search for the product site if the link is broken.

    At least the http://distrowatch.org/ mentioned has up-to-date information and seems to be the better option in your search.

    Not sure what happened to the linuxiso.org site.
    Wise men talk because they have something to say;
    fools, because they have to say something.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks everybody. I'll be looking into all this information.
    cybnut

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