Igniting Linux Desktop Security

Active Connections

Long ago, my all-time favorite desktop firewall was none other than sygate pro (symantec junkies sought-and-destroyed a while back). I loved all of its seemingly superior and cool features that really just made me feel great about using it on some servers and workstations. But like most other desktop firewalls, sygate is/was windows only. But this article isn’t about just any desktop firewall; it is about Firestarter, the Linux GUI firewall solution.

Firestarter is a nice, sleek, Desktop-safe, open source and server or workstation setting network security solution. Say that 128 times fast! Haha. If you are an administrator or just a savvy Linux Desktop user who wants to feel a little more secure on your network, you’ll probably love Firestarter.

Some of the great features of Firestarter include a graphical user interface to configuring firewall rules and settings, a nice wizard to walk you through it, real-time event monitor to check on intrusion attempts or the like, in and outbound network access policy control, port forwarding, the ability to whitelist and blacklist traffic, viewing network connections, advanced kernel tuning to provide somewhat protection against [flooding, broadcasting, spoofing, typical DoS attacks], and much more!

Firestarter sits atop of iptables and it works quite nicely to control traffic in and out of your workstation or server. I’ll even give you a couple of quick and smile examples. Say you got XYZ Linux running ZYX Desktop system and you want to be able to transfer files (or data) via XZY, but only from a certain IP address. Simply add a rule in Firestarter and watch it work. What if you want to completely (for the boundries of this tool) block access from xx.xxx.xx.xxx? Add a rule to blacklist it on outboard traffic. Volia! Simple firewalling made super easy. I use Firestarter and I absolutely love it. So if you haven’t already tried Firestarter, I recommend you give it a shot! I can’t imagine you being disappointed.


  • Tom

    And Firestarter is unmaintained for years now :P

  • http://jbrownsec.blogspot.com jbrown

    Well, according to http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/changelogs/pool/universe/f/firestarter/firestarter_1.0.3-1.1ubuntu4/changelog, the ubuntu package’s last changes were made ~2.5 years ago :)

  • Victor

    For Ubuntu and derivatives users there’s gufw, a GUI for uncomplicated firewall:


    I think it’s really good and simple, and much modern than the outdated firestarter.

  • raw

    Installed FireStarter way back, configured and rebooted.
    Machine hung at “loading CUPS”. Had to use a LiveCD to go in and prevent FS from loading. After getting back to the desktop I removed FS and am now back with ShoreWall.
    IMHO stay away from FireStarter.