In our last episode,
I flew in the face of conventional Penguin wisdom and asked for
suggestions on a free, reliable Linux firewall, antivirus system, and
antispyware app. Pretty much everyone told me I didn’t need antivirus
or antispyware. The caveat there, as member jeff pointed out, is that you’re vulnerable really only if you run as root. As we’ve discussed previously, Ubuntu doesn’t have a true root account, so that pretty much ticks two items off my list.
The firewall, on the other hand, is another story. It was news to me,
but apparently Linux uses iptables (remember, this is a n00b blogging)
for firewall-level defense. Members jmgarvin and apotheon have blogged and written TR articles on the subject.
Fortunately, member wilko
knew enough about Ubuntu to save me the laborious command-line
configuration of said iptables. “The iptables firewall is already
Ubuntu and Ubuntu doesn’t have any listening ports open by
You shouldn’t need to get into iptables configuration as such. If you
install Firestarter from the Ubuntu repositories you will have a
graphical interface that should make firewall configuration quick,
intuitive and easy.”
Given that clue, here’s how it went down. From the GNOME desktop, I clicked on the System menu and navigated to Administration | Add Applications. After I answered the password challenge, I did a search for firestarter.
It returned Firestarter as a potential application, but when I clicked
it, it notified me that installing Firestarter was not an option unless
I installed the “universal repositories.” I OK’d that installation,
after which Firestarter was a viable option. After it finished
installing, Firestarter was available under the desktop Applications | System Tools menu.
I ran the app, and Firestarter detected my ethernet connection, and I used the default settings. Total setup time from reading wilko’s post to having a firewall was about ten minutes. Very sweet.
Now, I’ve got to see about getting some wireless onto this contraption.
Any suggestions, since my hardware doesn’t include any wireless components at present?