IPCop 1.4.1 review
Although device support is limited, IPCop is deceptively simple yet powerful firewall software that is a cinch to install, easy to use and delivers very good reporting facilities.
Review Date: 20 Jan 2005
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: download
The best things in life are free, goes the saying, and this can be applied just as well to firewalls. Many companies, including small businesses, can pay a fortune for network security and yet sometimes the simplest and most cost-effective solutions are right under their noses.
The IPCop project is a collaboration, the mission of which is, quite simply, to produce the best Linux-based firewall, primarily for home users and small businesses. The software is freely available for download, but the IPCop team accepts no monetary donations. Instead, it asks, where possible, for coding skills, time and hardware to be donated to help the project. Installation starts by downloading the appropriate ISO image and burning a bootable CD. Load this into your donor system, answer a few simple questions and five minutes later your firewall is ready to go.
IPCop supports both IDE and SCSI hard disks, although we did encounter driver-related problems installing on the latter and opted to go for the former for testing. There's no real need for SCSI anyway, as IPCop's demands on disk usage are minimal. Next you add an IP address for the LAN and then remotely connect to your new appliance via a browser. This version will now automatically switch you over to an HTTPS session.
IPCop supports LAN and WAN connections. It can use extra network adaptors for DMZ (demilitarized zone) and wireless ports as well, although these must all be set up during the installation phase. The WAN connection also supports PSTN, ISDN and ADSL modems, but check out the website first, as limited device support is probably IPCop's biggest weakness.
The browser interface is well designed and simple to use. The System tab provides swift access to configuration backup facilities, password settings and a page that advises of any new updates, as well as providing facilities for downloading and applying them. From the Services tab, you can activate web proxy and cacheing features, decide on how much disk space the latter can use and whether to limit the size of file transfers. Along with many appliance vendors, IPCop uses the open-source Snort for intrusion detection and you can download new attack rules directly into the appliance. It also supports VPNs and offers basic traffic-shaping functions where you can prioritise services based on port numbers.
Where IPCop scores heavily over typical dumb NAT firewall boxes is with its high levels of operational information. Most low-cost security appliances have virtually no reporting facilities, so you've no idea if they're handling the load or whether you've been subjected to an attack. IPCop's firewall logs provide a wealth of information about each attack and where it's coming from.
The Status tab also keeps you well informed about system memory and disk resources, plus all services. There are plenty of graphs showing resource usage and all network activity on each configured interface. A connection tracker also keeps a record of all source and destination IP addresses in a table colour coded for each interface.
No doubt there are people who pour scorn on these kinds of projects, but make no mistake, IPCop is good - very good. We have no qualms about recommending IPCop, as we were impressed with it during testing and have seen it being used in SME environments by very happy administrators.
Author: Dave Mitchell
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 10: release date, features, free update and cloud version
- Chromebooks get version of Photoshop
- Retina display iMacs "coming soon"
- Apple patches ShellShock Bash bug
- Should the UK be a sharing economy?
- Want free Wi-Fi? It'll cost your first-born child
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- OS X Yosemite release date, price and key new features
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6/X release date, specs and rumoured UK price
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office