SuSE launches firewall application on CD

Linux operating system vendor SuSE Linux Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of SuSE Linux AG, Tuesday announced the release of its SuSE Linux Firewall on CD, a CD-ROM-based software firewall aimed at strengthening security for enterprises running Linux.

The SuSE Linux Firewall on CD is an application-level gateway that comes on 2 CDs, but rather than being installed on a server or as a hardware device like many firewalls, is instead run directly from write-protected CDs and floppy disks. The operating system boots from a CD-ROM containing the firewall application and the OS, and because files on a standard CD cannot be changed, the firewall is more secure, according to Holger Dyroff, the director of sales and marketing with SuSE Linux Inc. In fact, the system running the firewall wouldn't even need to have a hard drive, he said.

The version of the Linux OS that boots off the CD is stripped down, including only the necessary service for running the firewall, Dyroff said. The more services running, the more potential there is for security compromises, he said.

The firewall configuration files are stored on a write-protected floppy disk. Because both the firewall application and its configuration files are kept on write-protected media, a break-in cannot advance far as no files can be written, Dyroff said.

Such an application is ideal for enterprises with remote locations, he said. IT managers at the main office can configure the firewall the way they want, send the CD and configuration disk to the location knowing that it cannot be changed, and be confident that the firewall will be used they way they want.

An administration tool, called the Firewall Administration System, is included on the second CD and allows for fast and easy firewall configuration and management, SuSE said in a release.

The package also includes an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- the protocol used to send Web pages) content filter that can be used to filter undesirable Web pages, the company said.

The software, which also comes with a manual and 30 days of installation support, is available for US$649 and will be shipping through SuSE's normal distribution channels in about a week.

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