Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Open Source Firewalls - Untangle and pfSense comparison

So this week I had the opportunity of setting up a little lab to test both of these firewalls. Before this week I had no idea these firewalls even existed, and the only open source routing/firewall software I even knew of at the time was Vyatta; which is really only for routing purposes.

Starting off, you really need to pay attention to the system requirements, especially Untangles. I attempted to install both of these using Ubuntu with VirtualBox and was in for a nasty surprise. Originally skimming the requirements brought me to this issue, to where I used an old Dell Dimension 3000 box to use this on. Which as you may know, is very obsolete and moth-eaten. Lets just say the 1 GB of RAM and 40 GB hard drive didn't satisfy my general virtual needs; especially Untangles thirst for resources. So I decided to use ESX 3.5 on a beastly server that happened to be laying around; now we're talking.

Simply put, Untangle loves memory. There is no way around it, this is a Debian based OS that comes with its own pretty GUI; so you can see what I'm saying. But thats not just it, the tools on this thing are immensely creative. They are so creative that you need 2 GB of memory to run them properly. And thats if you only have a small amount of users. They say with 1-50 users you will be fine with 1 GB of memory but I highly recommend using more than that, who would not want to use more than 1 GB of memory anyways? Also, you will be fine with a Pentium 4 or equivalent processor until you hit 50+ users. Once your in the realm of that many users, you will want to be going dual core with 2 GB+ of memory. That will last you until 150 users, and well, you see where I'm going with this. This thing will handle up to 5000 users on a quad core, which I think is staggering. But are all these resources worth it? Absolutely!

Out of the box this thing will come with spam, phishing, spyware, and virus blockers. Not to mention its own Protocol Control which personally, is my favorite. Because it gives you a whole list (4 pages worth) of protocols to choose from, and take action on each. It has its own IPS as well, which has a good chunk of viruses/malware to choose from for blocking, with signatures included. And all of these tools are very straight forward with a friendly GUI. Almost anyone that has a basic understanding of networking and web application will be able to work with this fairly easily. There are a lot of other detailed tools as well, but I decided to briefly go over the ones that I found important.

Now unlike Untangle, pfSense is a FreeBSD OS. This firewall is very lightweight and has a pretty powerful terminal. Instead of needing a ton of memory and CPU power, this little guy can run comfortably on 128 MB of memory, and 300 MHz of CPU power, which is mainly for residential purposes. Once you reach 20-50 Mb throughput, you'll want a 500 MHz system with about 512 MB of memory. Still thats pretty lightweight if you ask me. 100 Mb wire-speed? Eh, no problem, just push your CPU power to about 700 MHz to 1 GHz, this thing operates effortlessly.

Administering pfSense can only be done from the Webui, locally you have the terminal, which is very helpful in setting up the box. Once your in the Webui, theres a few wizards to help you to get started. You really need to dig in order to find some of the nifty tools, in the start it doesn't throw them all at your face for ease of use like Untangle does. The blocking is mostly done through a rule base inside the Webui, which I started to like a lot. But unlike Untangle, you need to start from scratch on all the blocking/passing, whereas Untangle gives you about 4 pages worth of different protocols and web categories to block/pass that have signatures already in place.

The available services for pfSense are also pretty nifty. You can set up your own PPPoE server, OpenNTPD server, and you can even enable RIP on your network, among others, and VPN setup seems fairly easy.

I personally think Untangle is the best to get started on for a beginner. The GUI is very helpful and directive on what you should do. I personally liked the web filter and how it gave description of everything you selected, that can be very helpful if you are unsure. PfSense requires you to build everything from scratch, its way more advanced versus Untangle; but this also gives you a lot more control. However, the performance of pfSense while being so lightweight is unbeatable. Especially if you aren't looking to spend a lot of money on hardware. All in all, it comes down to personal preference.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hurricane Labs

Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

Latest Stories
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, softwar...
Hackers took three days to identify and exploit a known vulnerability in Equifax’s web applications. I will share new data that reveals why three days (at most) is the new normal for DevSecOps teams to move new business /security requirements from design into production. This session aims to enlighten DevOps teams, security and development professionals by sharing results from the 4th annual State of the Software Supply Chain Report -- a blend of public and proprietary data with expert researc...
So the dumpster is on fire. Again. The site's down. Your boss's face is an ever-deepening purple. And you begin debating whether you should join the #incident channel or call an ambulance to deal with his impending stroke. Yes, we know this is a developer's fault. There's plenty of time for blame later. Postmortems have a macabre name because they were once intended to be Viking-like funerals for someone's job. But we're civilized now. Sort of. So we call them post-incident reviews. Fires are ne...
The digital transformation is real! To adapt, IT professionals need to transform their own skillset to become more multi-dimensional by gaining both depth and breadth of a wide variety of knowledge and competencies. Historically, while IT has been built on a foundation of specialty (or "I" shaped) silos, the DevOps principle of "shifting left" is opening up opportunities for developers, operational staff, security and others to grow their skills portfolio, advance their careers and become "T"-sh...
This session will provide an introduction to Cloud driven quality and transformation and highlight the key features that comprise it. A perspective on the cloud transformation lifecycle, transformation levers, and transformation framework will be shared. At Cognizant, we have developed a transformation strategy to enable the migration of business critical workloads to cloud environments. The strategy encompasses a set of transformation levers across the cloud transformation lifecycle to enhance ...
Authorization of web applications developed in the cloud is a fundamental problem for security, yet companies often build solutions from scratch, which is error prone and impedes time to market. This talk shows developers how they can (instead) build on-top of community-owned projects and frameworks for better security.Whether you build software for enterprises, mobile, or internal microservices, security is important. Standards like SAML, OIDC, and SPIFFE help you solve identity and authenticat...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
Mike is managing director in Deloitte Consulting LLP's Cloud practice, responsible for helping clients implement cloud strategy and architecture to drive digital transformation. Beyond his technology experience, Mike brings an insightful understanding of how to address the organizational change, process improvement, and talent management challenges associated with digital transformation. Mike brings more than 30 years of experience in software development and architecture to his role. Most recen...
Having been in the web hosting industry since 2002, dhosting has gained a great deal of experience while working on a wide range of projects. This experience has enabled the company to develop our amazing new product, which they are now excited to present! Among dHosting's greatest achievements, they can include the development of their own hosting panel, the building of their fully redundant server system, and the creation of dhHosting's unique product, Dynamic Edge.
Your job is mostly boring. Many of the IT operations tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis are repetitive and dull. Utilizing automation can improve your work life, automating away the drudgery and embracing the passion for technology that got you started in the first place. In this presentation, I'll talk about what automation is, and how to approach implementing it in the context of IT Operations. Ned will discuss keys to success in the long term and include practical real-world examples. Ge...