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I was looking for a simple firewall solution that would fit my Linux system which has a simple GUI to add and modify rules. Also I wanted it to be based on iptables, the quasi-standard for Linux firewalls. I tried Lokkit, but it turned out to be too simple for my needs.

Then I found Firestarter. Next to a simple UI, it allows to see active connections, unblock blocked connections with 2 clicks, ICMP & ToS filtering, and much more. Not that I do not like the iptables rules setup, but I sometimes just don’t feel like using the shell to change my firewall rules.

Under Windows I am using the Outpost solution, but for Linux Firestarter fits me just fine.

To install it on debian based systems just run

  1. apt-get install firestarter

otherwise have a look at http://www.fs-security.com/download.php.

When you start firestarter for the first time a wizard will ask you some questions to help you setting up the basic rules. I always prefer to block all traffic unless explicity unblocked (so-called whitelist traffic). So the first time you will start your web browser you will not be able to access the internet because it is blocked by the firewall. But since this is valid traffic you can

  1. go to the events tab of the firestarter UI,
  2. right-click the new event (for example port:80, protocol: HTTP), and
  3. allow outbound service for everyone

You will have to perform these 3 steps for all your internet applications like email or instant messaging but usually its necessary only about 5 to 10 times.