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openSUSE 11.1 Reference Guide
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33.4 SuSEfirewall2

SuSEfirewall2 is a script that reads the variables set in /etc/sysconfig/SuSEfirewall2 to generate a set of iptables rules. It defines three security zones, although only the first and the second one are considered in the following sample configuration:

External Zone

Given that there is no way to control what is happening on the external network, the host needs to be protected from it. In most cases, the external network is the Internet, but it could be another insecure network, such as a WLAN.

Internal Zone

This refers to the private network, in most cases the LAN. If the hosts on this network use IP addresses from the private range (see Section 20.1.2, Netmasks and Routing), enable network address translation (NAT), so hosts on the internal network can access the external one.

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

While hosts located in this zone can be reached both from the external and the internal network, they cannot access the internal network themselves. This setup can be used to put an additional line of defense in front of the internal network, because the DMZ systems are isolated from the internal network.

Any kind of network traffic not explicitly allowed by the filtering rule set is suppressed by iptables. Therefore, each of the interfaces with incoming traffic must be placed into one of the three zones. For each of the zones, define the services or protocols allowed. The rule set is only applied to packets originating from remote hosts. Locally generated packets are not captured by the firewall.

The configuration can be performed with YaST (see Section 33.4.1, Configuring the Firewall with YaST). It can also be made manually in the file /etc/sysconfig/SuSEfirewall2, which is well commented. Additionally, a number of example scenarios are available in /usr/share/doc/packages/SuSEfirewall2/EXAMPLES.

33.4.1 Configuring the Firewall with YaST

IMPORTANT: Automatic Firewall Configuration

After the installation, YaST automatically starts a firewall on all configured interfaces. If a server is configured and activated on the system, YaST can modify the automatically-generated firewall configuration with the options Open Ports on Selected Interface in Firewall or Open Ports on Firewall in the server configuration modules. Some server module dialogs include a Firewall Details button for activating additional services and ports. The YaST firewall configuration module can be used to activate, deactivate, or reconfigure the firewall.

The YaST dialogs for the graphical configuration can be accessed from the YaST Control Center. Select Security and Users > Firewall. The configuration is divided into seven sections that can be accessed directly from the tree structure on the left side.


Set the start-up behavior in this dialog. In a default installation, SuSEfirewall2 is started automatically. You can also start and stop the firewall here. To implement your new settings in a running firewall, use Save Settings and Restart Firewall Now.

Figure 33-2 The YaST Firewall Configuration


All known network interfaces are listed here. To remove an interface from a zone, select the interface, press Change, and choose No Zone Assigned. To add an interface to a zone, select the interface, press Change and choose any of the available zones. You may also create a special interface with your own settings by using Custom.

Allowed Services

You need this option to offer services from your system to a zone from which it is protected. By default, the system is only protected from external zones. Explicitly allow the services that should be available to external hosts. After selecting the desired zone in Allowed Services for Selected Zone, activate the services from the list.


Masquerading hides your internal network from external networks, such as the Internet, while enabling hosts in the internal network to access the external network transparently. Requests from the external network to the internal one are blocked and requests from the internal network seem to be issued by the masquerading server when seen externally. If special services of an internal machine need to be available to the external network, add special redirect rules for the service.


In this dialog, configure the UDP ports that allow broadcasts. Add the required port numbers or services to the appropriate zone, separated by spaces. See also the file /etc/services.

The logging of broadcasts that are not accepted can be enabled here. This may be problematic, because Windows hosts use broadcasts to know about each other and so generate many packets that are not accepted.

IPsec Support

Configure whether the IPsec service should be available to the external network in this dialog. Configure which packets are trusted under Details.

Logging Level

There are two rules for the logging: accepted and not accepted packets. Packets that are not accepted are DROPPED or REJECTED. Select from Log All, Log Only Critical, or Do Not Log Any for both of them.

Custom Rules

Here, set special firewall rules that allow connections, matching specified citeria such as source network, protocol, destination port, and source port. Configure such rules for external, internal, and demilitarized zone.

When completed with the firewall configuration, exit this dialog with Next. A zone-oriented summary of your firewall configuration then opens. In it, check all settings. All services, ports, and protocols that have been allowed, and all custom rules are listed in this summary. To modify the configuration, use Back. Press Accept to save your configuration.

33.4.2 Configuring Manually

The following paragraphs provide step-by-step instructions for a successful configuration. Each configuration item is marked as to whether it is relevant to firewalling or masquerading. Use port range (for example, 500:510) whenever appropriate. Aspects related to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) as mentioned in the configuration file are not covered here. They are applicable only to a more complex network infrastructure found in larger organizations (corporate networks), which require extensive configuration and in-depth knowledge about the subject.

First, use the YaST module System Services (Runlevel) to enable SuSEfirewall2 in your runlevel (3 or 5 most likely). It sets the symlinks for the SuSEfirewall2_* scripts in the /etc/init.d/rc?.d/ directories.

FW_DEV_EXT (firewall, masquerading)

The device linked to the Internet. For a modem connection, enter ppp0. For an ISDN link, use ippp0. DSL connections use dsl0. Specify auto to use the interface that corresponds to the default route.

FW_DEV_INT (firewall, masquerading)

The device linked to the internal, private network (such as eth0). Leave this blank if there is no internal network and the firewall protects only the host on which it runs.

FW_ROUTE (firewall, masquerading)

If you need the masquerading function, set this to yes. Your internal hosts will not be visible to the outside, because their private network addresses (e.g., 192.168.x.x) are ignored by Internet routers.

For a firewall without masquerading, only set this to yes if you want to allow access to the internal network. Your internal hosts need to use officially registered IP addresses in this case. Normally, however, you should not allow access to your internal network from the outside.

FW_MASQUERADE (masquerading)

Set this to yes if you need the masquerading function. This provides a virtually direct connection to the Internet for the internal hosts. It is more secure to have a proxy server between the hosts of the internal network and the Internet. Masquerading is not needed for services a proxy server provides.

FW_MASQ_NETS (masquerading)

Specify the hosts or networks to masquerade, leaving a space between the individual entries. For example:


Set this to yes to protect your firewall host from attacks originating in your internal network. Services are only available to the internal network if explicitly enabled. Also see FW_SERVICES_INT_TCP and FW_SERVICES_INT_UDP.


Enter the TCP ports that should be made available. Leave this blank for a normal workstation at home that should not offer any services.


Leave this blank unless you run a UDP service and want to make it available to the outside. The services that use UDP include include DNS servers, IPsec, TFTP, DHCP and others. In that case, enter the UDP ports to use.


List services to allow from the Internet. This is a more generic form of the FW_SERVICES_EXT_TCP and FW_SERVICES_EXT_UDP settings, and more specific than FW_TRUSTED_NETS. The notation is a space-separated list of net,protocol[,dport][,sport], for example 0/0,tcp,22.


With this variable, define the services available for the internal network. The notation is the same as for FW_SERVICES_EXT_TCP, but the settings are applied to the internal network. The variable only needs to be set if FW_PROTECT_FROM_INT is set to yes.




List services to allow from internal hosts. See FW_SERVICES_ACCEPT_EXT.


SuSEfirewall2 now implements a subtle change regarding packets that are considered RELATED by netfilter.

For example, to allow finer grained filtering of Samba broadcast packets, RELATED packets are no longer accepted unconditionally. The new variables starting with FW_SERVICES_ACCEPT_RELATED_ have been introduced to allow restricting RELATED packets handling to certain networks, protocols and ports.

This means that adding connection tracking modules (conntrack modules) to FW_LOAD_MODULES does no longer automatically result in accepting the packets tagged by those modules. Additionally, you must set variables starting with FW_SERVICES_ACCEPT_RELATED_ to a suitable value.

After configuring the firewall, test your setup. The firewall rule sets are created by entering SuSEfirewall2 start as root. Then use telnet, for example, from an external host to see whether the connection is actually denied. After that, review /var/log/messages, where you should see something like this:

Mar 15 13:21:38 linux kernel: SFW2-INext-DROP-DEFLT IN=eth0 
OUT= MAC=00:80:c8:94:c3:e7:00:a0:c9:4d:27:56:08:00 SRC= 
DST= LEN=60 TOS=0x10 PREC=0x00 TTL=64 ID=15330 DF PROTO=TCP 
SPT=48091 DPT=23 WINDOW=5840 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0 
OPT (020405B40402080A061AFEBC0000000001030300)

Other packages to test your firewall setup are nmap or nessus. The documentation of nmap is found at /usr/share/doc/packages/nmap and the documentation of nessus resides in the directory /usr/share/doc/packages/nessus-core after installing the respective package.

openSUSE 11.1 Reference Guide
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