Embedded Firewall – 2000

On the Internet security is a great concern. Since Radioactive Networks runs it’s own servers, it was important that we had a good firewall. Originally the firewall consisted of firewall rules on the main Radioactive Networks server. But over time the number of attacks on our machines have increased to the point where we needed a dedicated server to maintain security.

Following investigations we found a company that could provide hardware for the firewall that would allow it to be mounted inside a 1U rack case. Acrosser (http://www.acrosser.com/products/ar-b1550.htm)
of Taiwan was able to supply an embedded processor board with CPU and three 100 MBit Ethernet ports for just over US$250. The 300 MHz CPU runs at approximately 280 BogoMIPS under Linux, so is not as fast as the clock speed would suggest but it is not bad. The board has a PC-104 form factor allowing other cards to be stacked.

Running on this board is a Linux distribution from a German company called Astaro ( http://www.astaro.com ). Astaro Security Linux is an integrated firewall application built on the Lunux Operating System. Since it is based on Linux, Astaro can be extended to offer additional feaures that the original designers never thought of. Although not supported by Astaro, it is hoped many of these features will eventually make it into the main Astaro distribution.

Radioactive Networks has added functionality to Astaro in the way of PPP access through a modem connection to the Internet, and integrating the  Snort  intrusion detection software.