Unified Threat Management for the Home

firewall Jan 23, 2008

Home networks are becoming more and more sophisticated. It used to be that a home computer was setup in a central location in the home with multiple accounts and a single modem or DSL connection directly attached to the “family” computer. Multiple computers on a network were usually found in an office setting or an Internet cafe. Such is no longer the case.

With ISPs pushing wireless enabled DSL firewall/routers, wireless enabled laptop sales on the rise, and Internet enabled appliances (gaming and kitchen varieties), home networks are now downright commonplace. I have seen many home developers include wiring new homes with CAT6e network cables for use in data and VOIP applications. Wiring closets and patch panels are now as much a part of the home as the walk-in closet and the roman tub.

However, not much thought is put into securing these networks. This makes them more vulnerable to attack and (if used to VPN into office networks) becomes an attack vector into secure office networks. Hope is not lost. Unified Threat Management systems (UTMs) are used in enterprise settings to mitigate break-in attempts and keep the network secure. Such technology is available for the home network and the price is far less than you think.

I have already reviewed one the products in this roundup: Untangle. The other two products to be covered are Astaro Secure Gateway (v7) and ComixWall 4.2. The first two are commercial UTMs that offer free (restricted license) versions for home use. The last one is a FOSS project that provides a totally free, unrestricted product. It is also the only one in the bunch that is 64-bit.

Once I finish testing, I will be publishing my findings on PlanetX64. Stay tuned for more updates!