Creating a Coyote Linux Firewall

Using a single, simple script, Coyote Linux lets you create a bootable Linux firewall that fits on a floppy disk. Once you install and boot Coyote Linux, you can manage it from another computer on your LAN. You can use a Web interface or log into it using SSH and manage Coyote Linux from a Linux shell.

Coyote Linux contains an amazing set of features for such a small space. After booting the Coyote Linux boot floppy you create, you have a firewall with which you can:

■ Route packets between your LAN and the Internet.

■ Provide network interfaces to Ethernet LAN (TCP or PPPoE) or dial-up (PPP) network connections.

■ Create firewall rules supported by iptables. (It starts with a few basic rules, but you can add your own rules to include IP Masquerading and NAT, port forwarding, transparent proxies, or many other iptables features.)

■ Enable DHCP. Coyote Linux can act as a DHCP server, providing IP addresses and other information to the computers on your LAN.

■ Log activities. In addition to creating logs of activities on the firewall, Coyote can be set to pass those log files to another computer on your LAN.

■ Monitor network activities. There are a few basic administrative tools in Coyote Linux to check out your network a bit. Those tools include traceroute and nslookup.

■ Log in remotely (SSH) and get around the shell. The sshd daemon in Coyote Linux enables you to log in from another computer on your LAN. The busybox utility (www.busybox.net/) provides a good set of basic shell tools.

■ Open a Web interface to Coyote Linux. From any Web browser on your LAN, you can open the Coyote Linux Web Administrator interface by typing your firewall's IP address and port 8180 (for example, http://192.168.0.1:8180).

The following section shows you how to create a Coyote Linux boot floppy firewall/router. Once you have your Coyote Linux firewall up and running, you can change settings for that firewall from another computer on your LAN using the Web browser or shell (SSH) interface to the computer. If you are familiar with the shell and firewall features (described earlier in the chapter), there are a lot of things such as routing, demand dialing, and using a DHCP service that you can do with this nice little distribution.

I ^ ,T ' ■ i 'Z°r more information, refer to the Web site of Vortech Consulting, LLC (www. vortech ~~' ' ■ ■ . net), which created the Coyote Linux project. As with many companies that support open source software, it offers commercial products that relate to its open source project. If you want more advanced products and support, you can consider purchasing its corporate and small-office firewall products.

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