by December 2, 2003 0 comments

Home users are as much a potential prey for hackers as are office users. While Windows users can opt for a free or inexpensive firewalls to secure their PCs, Linux users have to resort to more geeky ways such as configuring the iptables. So, what can a less-techie home user do? He can try Firestarter, a GUI for iptables. It has an easy-to-use, wizard-based GUI for configuring iptables. You can download firestarter from

To fire up the wizard, go to Xwindow and run the command ‘Firestarter’ either from any terminal window or from the ‘Run Application’ dialogue box. On the wizard window that opens up, click on the Forward button.  Now the wizard will ask you to select the device (for example eth0) on which you want to configure the firewall. After selecting the device, click on the Forward button. 
This screen is for setting up the firewall for Network Services. Here, you can select from two options. The first, ‘Disable public access to all services’, will disable all ports and no one will be able to access your machine. The other, ‘Enable public access to the following services’, will highlight a list of services (such as ftp, www and ssh) from which you can select the service that you want to grant public access to.  On this screen (‘Type of service filtering setup’), set the priorities for the services, which are categorized as Client Applications, Server Applications and The Xwindow System. After setting it up, hit Forward to continue.

On this screen (ICMP filtering setup), set
filters for different types of ICMP packets, such as Echo, Tracerout and Redirection. This helps to prevent against common DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. 

Next,click on the Forward button, and then on Save. This will start the main firewall interface, where you can monitor the hits made on your IP address. To block a hit, right click on it and select ‘Block host’. You can also accept the host from here and find the hostname of the IP address from where the hit is coming.

Copy the software from the CD to your hard disk and install the rpm as follows.

#cp firststarter-0.9.2-3.i386.rpm ~
#rpm —ivh firststarter-0.9.2-3.i386.rpm

To minimize Firestarter to sit in the system tray, go to Edit>Preference>General. When a hit occurs, the firewall notifies you by changing its icon color. 

Anindya Roy

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