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Firewall Whitepaper

Audience Technical
Abstract A new server joining the Internet today will usually be probed quietly by a potential attacker�s scripts within about 6 hours. If the server shows any weaknesses, the attacker will likely be back shortly afterwards to investigate. When conditions are this harsh, it�s simply not reasonable to operate a server or connect an office to the Internet without some kind of firewall protection - that�s clear. However, a subtle balance is necessary between security and functionality, and each organization has different security needs. Blocking incoming web requests from visitors will certainly increase security, but if you run an e-commerce web site, that won�t be acceptable. Like unlocking the front door to a bank, sometimes security needs to be slightly reduced in order to provide a service. Our customers need a serious firewall that can do what they need it to do and change when their needs change. Because we take security so seriously, many users of our Nitix server operating system are surprised to find that there is no firewall configuration screen: nowhere to add rules and create rulesets, nowhere to make decisions about arcane TCP/IP data structures, and nowhere to select which incoming and outgoing port numbers need to be opened. If security is so serious, then how can we take a firewall seriously when it doesn�t have these options? In fact, we take security so seriously that we carefully and deliberately removed each one of these configuration options from the Nitix OS. The rest of this document will explain how and why and describe some of the firewall�s more advanced features along the way.

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