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Monday, 12 April 2010 15:24

IPFire brings super secure Linux to the masses


Most folk know if they want a secure gateway between the Internet and their home or business they should use Linux for maximum protection. The new IPFire distribution seeks to take security to the highest level while also making things a breeze for the less experienced to set up.

Linux can be daunting for those from the Windows world, more used to point-and-click interfaces than a plethora of command-line instructions, and for those without a network security background the general task of establishing a secure server may not be straightforward.

IPFire seeks to address both these, as expressed in its tagline, 'security gone easy!'

In particular, IPFire has been designed to serve as a policeman and traffic copy intercepting and inspecting all the traffic between your network and the Internet. In this regard it essentially turns a computer into a sophisticated firewall and router appliance.

This is achieved by bundling a pre-configured collection of top-notch open source security tools as well as IPFire's own custom-built packet manager called Pakfire. Pakfire permits close inspection of TCP/IP packets as they come in to the network and thus the ability to make complex decisions based on them. Pakfire supports a plug-in architecture so it can be easily extended by others.

IPFire isn't just a burn, mount and forget distro; effort has been expended by the designers to ensure it keeps up to date with security and regulatory patches and changes.

In addition, the team behind IPFire has put in a lot of work to make sure the whole lot is glued together in a cohesive user interface which aims to be clear from beginners through to experienced old hands.

IPFire has downloadable images to suit CDs, USB sticks, embedded device and even a ready-to-run Xen virtual machine.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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