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Security applications for Linux are plentiful.

After all the publicity about terrorist attacks, and the never-ending spate of viruses, companies are paying more attention than ever to security. And Linux is playing a larger and larger role in providing corporate security.

Part of this comes from the fact that just about every Linux distribution includes the basic building blocks to turn a Linux system into a firewall.

Some Linux distributions, such as SuSE, include firewall and security set up as part of the basic Linux installation. This is a great benefit for home users, especially those with broadband Internet access.

In the corporate arena, though, Linux is increasingly finding a place protecting company networks with supported products aimed at administrators and other users who may not be savvy with Linux at all.

SuSE, for example, offers a SuSE Linux Firewall product aimed at this market, and recently announced SuSE Linux Firewall on CD-VPN Edition to support corporations with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

NetMAX has offered a firewall suite for years. The NetMAX offering actually includes a customized version of Linux. You install the whole package on a computer, turning the computer into a dedicated firewall. Despite the reputation Linux has for difficult installs, the entire NetMAX package, including Linux and the firewall software, installs in about 15 minutes.

Other vendors offer a secure version of Linux that acts as a firewall, such as Astaro Security Linux, from Astaro AG.

RockSteady provides a Linux-based firewall solution for companies with many small, remote sites, such as small sales offices that are not large enough to have their own local administrator. The RockBox hardware includes a version of Red Hat Linux built into the appliance.

The Security Defense Appliance from Guardent includes open-source IP tables, Snort, the Nessus vulnerability scanner, and other open-source Linux software within a proprietary package.

Fans of open-source software can use Linux tools as they are, since Linux comes with a lot of security-related software. Or you can use free tools such as T.REX Firewall from Freemont Avenue Software. Meanwhile, Dante provides a circuit-level firewall/proxy based on Linux.

SINUS Firewall is a TCP/IP packet filter package. The TIS Firewall Toolkit, also called FWTK, provides a kit for building your own firewall-protected network.

With all these tools, you should be able to find something that can help protect your network.

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