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Comparison of firewalls

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_firewalls

The following tables compare different aspects of a number of firewalls, starting from simple home firewalls up to the most sophisticated Enterprise firewalls.

Personal firewalls

Main article: Personal firewall
Firewall  ↓ License ↓ OS ↓ 64 bit  ↓
CA Personal Firewall Proprietary Windows No
Comodo Firewall Pro Freeware Windows Yes
Core Force Apache Windows Unknown
IPFilter BSD Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX Yes
ipfirewall BSD FreeBSD Yes
Kaspersky Internet Security Proprietary Windows Yes
Lavasoft Personal Firewall Proprietary Windows Yes
Netfilter/iptables GPL Linux Yes
Norton 360 Proprietary Windows Yes
Online Armor Personal Firewall Freeware/Proprietary Windows Unknown
Outpost Firewall Pro Proprietary Windows Yes
PC Tools Firewall Plus Freeware Windows Unknown
PF BSD OpenBSD Yes
Sunbelt Personal Firewall Proprietary Windows No
Trend Micro Internet Security Proprietary Windows Yes
Windows Firewall Proprietary Windows Yes
ZoneAlarm Freeware Windows No

Firewall rule-set basic filtering features comparison

Can Target: Changing default policy to accept/ reject (by issuing only 1 rule at most) IP destination address(es) IP source address(es) TCP/UDP destination port(s) TCP/UDP source port(s) Ethernet MAC destination address Ethernet MAC source address Inbound firewall (Ingress) Outbound firewall (Egress)
Windows XP Firewall No No Yes Partial No No No Yes No
Windows Vista Firewall Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Cisco Access List Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Linux iptables Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OpenBSD PF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IPFilter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Check Point VPN-1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sidewinder G2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NAI Gauntlet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Zorp Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trend Micro Internet Security Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
  • Windows XP Firewall can target only single destination TCP/UDP port per rule, not port ranges, therefore support is partial.

Firewall rule-set advanced features comparison

Can: work at OSI Layer 4 (stateful firewall) work at OSI Layer 7 (application inspection) Change TTL? (Transparent to traceroute) Configure REJECT-with answer DMZ (de-militarized zone) – allows for single/several hosts not to be firewalled. Filter according to time of day Redirect TCP/UDP ports (port forwarding) Redirect IP addresses (forwarding) Filter according to User Authorization Traffic rate-limit / QoS Tarpit Log
Windows XP Firewall Yes No No No No No No No No No No Yes
Windows Vista Firewall Yes No No No No No No No Yes No No Yes
Cisco Access List Yes (with CBAC) Partial (with CBAC) No No Yes Yes Yes Yes (with static routes) No Yes (with queueing) No Yes
Linux iptables Yes Yes (with patch) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (with NuFW) Yes Yes (with Patch-o-matic module) Yes
OpenBSD pf Yes Partial (selected protocols only) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IPFilter Yes Partial (selected protocols only) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Sidewinder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Check Point VPN-1 Yes Yes Yes Yes(With Web Intelligence) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
  • NOTE: Because Linux Iptables is text-based firewall, you can “Filter according to time of day” by using additional 3rd party tools, like expect automation tool and cron jobs.

Firewall Management features comparison

Features: Configuration: GUI, text or both modes? Remote Access: Web (HTTP), Telnet, SSH, RDP, Serial COM RS232, … After rule change – requires firewall restart – less than one second ? Ability to centrally manage all firewalls together
Windows XP Firewall both RDP, telnet, Group Policy Yes Yes(with AD and GPO)
Windows Vista Firewall both RDP, telnet, Group Policy, MMC No Yes
Cisco Access List both Telnet, SSH, Web(Java App “PDM” or the newer “ASDM”), RS232 Yes Partial
Linux iptables both Telnet, SSH, Web (webmin), X/Win32 GUI “fwbuilder”, RS232 Yes Yes
OpenBSD pf both Telnet, SSH, Web (webmin), X/Win32 GUI “fwbuilder”, RS232 Yes Yes
IPFilter both Telnet, SSH, Web (webmin), X/Win32 GUI “fwbuilder”, RS232 Yes Yes
Check Point VPN-1 GUI proprietary GUI, SSH, Web (HTTP/HTTPS) Yes Yes
  • NOTE: Rule changes on Checkpoint firewalls do not require any restart and incur no outage time.
  • NOTE: Because Linux Iptables and Cisco ACL are text-based firewalls, you can centrally manage them all-at-once by using additional tools, like KDE Konsole or expect automation tool.
  • NOTE: Due to the distributed nature of the Checkpoint architecture, no single interface is used exclusively. Security, NAT and VPN configuration is always done using the proprietary GUI, however basic IP networking and routing configuration of individual firewalls could be done using SSH or the Web interface.

Firewall’s other features comparison

Features: Modularity: supports third-party modules to extend functionality? Open-Source License? supports IPv6 ? Class: Home / Professional on what Operating Systems it runs?
Windows XP Firewall No No No Home Windows XP
Windows Server 2003
Windows Vista Firewall Yes No Yes Both Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008
Cisco Access List No No Yes Professional Cisco IOS
Linux iptables Yes Yes Yes Professional Linux 2.4+
OpenBSD pf Yes Yes Yes Professional OpenBSD, FreeBSD 6.0+, NetBSD 3.0+
IPFilter Yes Yes Yes Professional Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX. Available but deprecated on Linux, BSD.
Check Point VPN-1 Yes No Yes Professional Solaris, Linux (SPLAT or RHEL), Windows NT,2000,2003
  • NOTE: Checkpoint support a limited range of third-party modules from certified partners. Modules are integrated with Checkpoint firewalls through a platform named OPSEC

Non-Firewall extra features comparison

Those features are not strictly firewall features, but are sometimes bundled with firewall software, or exist on the platform.

NOTE: Features will be marked as “yes”, even if it’s separate module that comes with the platform, on which firewall sits.

IDS: real-time firewall that logs/sniffs/blocks suspicious connections, that are not part of rule-set.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) Types are: PPTP, L2TP, MPLS, IPsec, SSL/SSH.

Can: NAT (static, dynamic w/o ports, PAT) IDS (Intrusion Detection System) VPN (Virtual Private Network) AV (Anti-Virus) Sniffer
Windows XP Partial (PAT, with Internet Connection Sharing) Yes (with SPECTER) Partial (Limited to 1 client) Yes (McAfee, Symantec, etc) Yes (with wireshark)
Windows Vista Partial (PAT, with Internet Connection Sharing) Yes (with SPECTER) Partial (Limited to 1 client) Yes (McAfee, Symantec, etc) Yes (with wireshark)
Cisco IOS Yes (supports three NAT types) Yes Yes (some IOS versions) No Yes (some IOS versions)
Linux OS Yes (supports three NAT types) Yes (with Prelude-IDS or Snort) Yes (with openVPN) Yes (with clamav) Yes (with wireshark or tcpdump)
OpenBSD pf Yes (supports three NAT types) Yes (with Prelude-IDS or Snort) Yes Yes (with clamav) Yes (with wireshark or tcpdump)
IPFilter Yes (supports three NAT types) Yes (with Prelude-IDS or Snort) Yes (Native on Solaris, HP-UX. With third-party software on IRIX, BSD, Linux.) Yes (with clamav) Yes (with wireshark or tcpdump)
Check Point Yes (supports three NAT types) Yes Yes Yes Yes (with wireshark,tcpdump or
FW-1 kernel inside dump “fw monitor” a powerful tool to determine many aspects of the connection before and after packet enters/leaves OS routing system