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Data Security Viruses, Firewalls and Safe computing


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Old 29th June, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Router, Firewall, Webserver, small scale. Advice please

I need to set up ADSL internet in my Dad´s house to share between 3 computers. The small scale broadband routers/firewalls on ebuyer have mainly good reviews but a few of the (apparently) more knowledgeable posts indicate security holes in the default setups and are difficult to configure.

So I thought of buying a junky old system, a small (non-USB) ADSL modem and using the old banger to route, firewall and webserve. I figure this way, that machine is on the outside and I can administer it with SSH from uni if anything goes wrong and I can also configure it exactly how I want it. It´d be setup with 2 ethernet ports - 1 for the broadband connection and 1 going to a hub connecting the rest of the house.

So here´s the questions:

1) Is performance on such a scale really an issue? The line is 512k so bandwidth will be the main performance bottleneck. The webserver won´t be doing much. 4-500MHz P2/3 Dell and Compaq system are selling for under a tenner on ebay - good enough? What about memory?

2) Would a purpose built router be more suitable?

3) I´d probably run fedora on it (slow maybe) just for the convenience of "yum update". So far, its never crashed on my overclocked XP1800 so I figure it will be long term stable (my family aren´t good with such things) on an older rig. Can anyone recommend a distro that would be more streamlined and suitable for the job but still easy to update and not likely to enter dependency hell?

Btw, running windows XP is possible but out of the question.
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Old 29th June, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stigweed
I need to set up ADSL internet in my Dad´s house to share between 3 computers. The small scale broadband routers/firewalls on ebuyer have mainly good reviews but a few of the (apparently) more knowledgeable posts indicate security holes in the default setups and are difficult to configure....
I'd recommend a wireless router. They are relatively cheap $50-100 US. Think of it this way, the default settings are to minimize tech support calls. Usually, all security is turned OFF. This increases the probability that someone with NO experience whatsoever can just plug everything in and be online. I've set up 3 wireless routers in the last couple of months, 1 linksys, 1 netgear, and 1 buffalo. For all three, I had to manually go in, turn on WEP, turn on MAC filtering, and once the wireless PCs were set up, turn off SSID broadcasting. At least from a wireless standpoint, these networks are 'relatively' secure. (The buffalo was the cheapest, and probably the best out of the 3.)
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Old 29th June, 2004, 09:08 PM
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I'm running OpenBSD on a 600MHz Via EPIA machine, and it's plenty powerful enough as a firewall. PF (OpenBSD's stateful inspection engine) hits as much as 1% CPU load when the 1meg connection is maxed out. My system runs from a 256Mb Compact Flash card, and has 256MB RAM, although 128MB would be fun. It also acts as a DHCP server.

So, as far as the firewall aspect goes, it's no big deal. The webserver will probably dictate how much RAM/disk space you require.
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Old 29th June, 2004, 11:21 PM
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Cheers, I didn´t want to go with wireless because of the security issues, the cost (when I already have a bunch of ethernet cables and cards) and all the different standards (maybe they´re all the same but you´ve got wifi, 802.11g,b,c,a or whatever letter...)

I´m probably going to go with the old skool p3 dell/compaq option. Five pound for a pc, 9 delivery or 60 for the better Netgear router (50 for the one people say overheats and crashes) or more for the wireless one and more again for wireless cards. All the computer are going to be upstairs, so I´m sticking the router in the loft (attic) and the mess of cables will be contained up there.

Will have to go with fedora initally since I have the ISOs for FC2 and won´t have the bandwidth to download anything else for a while.

My Dad´s girlfriend seems to think broadband is going to be her key to downloading movies and wants me to sort her out a DVD writer for her PC. Leaves me trying to explain the concept of copy protection to the technologically challenged...At least I´ll be able to lock down the network properly
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Old 30th June, 2004, 12:15 AM
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I used to run our network firewall with a full T1 of bandwidth on a Pentium 200 with 128 MB RAM and Redhat 6. There is no reason IMHO you shouldn't be able to run a firewall and web server from the hardware you propose, provided that Linux is properly configured. The web server aspect will be the biggest consideration for the hardware, as Áedán mentioned.
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Old 3rd July, 2004, 01:54 PM
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I´m just setting up the FC2 box with two net cards. Been looking around for an ADSL modem with one ethernet port. I don´t want USB because I´m using linux and the USB on that machine is dead anyway, I don´t want a 4 port router cos that´s what the FC2 box is doing. Just ADSL->RJ45 anyone got any ideas where to get one cheap?

The ones on ebay and ebuyer are more expensive than the USB ones, which doesn´t make sense to me unless the USB connection allows the CPU to do all the hard work while the RJ45 one requires it to be done internally. Also, some seemed to be set up as routers/firewalls despite being only 1 port which may cause conflicts.
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Old 5th July, 2004, 05:52 PM
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Have a look on this page:

http://www.scan.co.uk/todayonly/

There's some cheap ones there. I've no idea what they're like.
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