What does the "Installer" actually do?

  • GeraldH

    GeraldH - 2009-05-04

      I realize the subject question is somewhat simplistic (or dumb), but let me explain:
    My home-based Asterisk PBX box is behind a NAT (with public static adrs), but I wanted
    to increase the security - so I started playing with fwbuilder (v 3.04 build 794 on Ubuntu
    Intrepid ) since I didn't wish to delve into the iptables. By the way this is a great
    product and effort. My router only forwards SIP udp port 5060 and rtp (ports 10000+),
    and IAX2 udp port 4569 to the static IP Asterisk box.

      Since my VOIP provider has all of his proxy servers at the same subnet and I register
    TO his proxy, I figured I could stealth ALL my ports. So I installed FwBuilder on the
    Asterisk box and manually execute the *.fw script and manually clear the iptables
    so as not to reboot my phone system during the testing.  Everything 'seems' to work
    just fine.


      I inserted the the firewall.fw script in the file /etc/rc.local to be
    executed at boot-up. HOWEVER, after a reboot with this method, my outgoing "register"
    signals are being blocked. If I then (without rebooting) empty the iptables and then
    run my *.fw script manually, "register" signals are now unblocked and everything is OK..

      Although the files displayed (via "iptables -t filter -n -L --line-numbers", and also
    a command for the "mangle" tables) are indentical for both the "manual" method and
    the "auto-boot" method, it's obvious something is different. Are there some iptables
    that I'm not displaying to the screen with the above iptables commands?
    Only user "root" has file permissions, by the way.

      Do I HAVE to use the built-in Installer?  I noticed in the recent pdf, "Using Built-in
    Policy Installer in Firewall Builder" from Vadim Kurland that I CAN use ssh on the
    same machine, but do I HAVE to?  What is different with the two methods?

    Gerald H

    • Vadim Kurland

      Vadim Kurland - 2009-05-04

      you do not have to use installer. The actual goal is to transfer generated .fw file to the firewall and run it there. Since you run fwbuilder GUI on the same machine, you can just run it there. It is not very convenient to have to do it by hand but its your choice.

      As for why the firewall blocks your connections after reboot, probably it is because your firewall machine activates its own iptables script before or after rc.local runs. Script generated by fwbuilder should purge all iptables rules that might be there when it runs, so it should work if it runs after the default script.

      When you say you empty the iptables and then run generated .fw script manually, how exactly do you empty iptables ?

      To check and compare the state of iptables you can use commands

      iptables -t filter -L -n
      iptables -t mangle -L -n
      iptables -t nat -L -n

      You may want to disable standard default iptables setup on your firewall so that it does not interfere with the script generated by fwbuilder. I am not familiar with Asterisk configuration so I am not sure how to do that. If Asterisk is based on a RedHat-like Linux distribution, you would run "service iptables stop" "chkconfig --level 2345 iptables off" commands to turn it off. Since you call script generated by fwbuilder from rc.local, it will always run even if you use these commands to disable default system iptables script.

      Last, but not least, I recommend you make sure option "Load modules" is turned on in the "Script" tab of the firewall object dialog.

      • GeraldH

        GeraldH - 2009-05-05

        Thanks for the response.

        Answer to your question-
          I empty the iptables with a script that has the 4 bash command lines:
           iptables -F
           iptables -X
           for CHAIN in INPUT OUTPUT FORWARD ; do iptables -P $CHAIN ACCEPT ; done
           exit 0

          In reading your response I thought of something that I have should have done in
        the first place - I mentioned that I checked the firewall after a manual install and a
        rc.local execution which resulted in no iptables difference. What I should have done
        and will try is to write the iptables status just before and just after the *.fw script inside
        the rc.local script.

          I compile the Asterisk source (on Ubuntu Intrepid), so there is no (obvious)
        firewall generated (by Asterisk) that would cause the "blocking". But, I will
        try some further checking, and get back to you if I solve or further confuse
        the problem. By the way, I haven't used the NAT rule(s), since I'm behind a
        router. Planned on adding those when I move the Asterisk box to the DMZ.

        Thanks again,
        Gerald H

        • GeraldH

          GeraldH - 2009-05-06

          Follow up to my previous email:

          The good news is that the problem is gone because of what I did;
          the bad news is that I don't have an exact idea of why. As I stated
          in my previous email I inserted a write of the iptables (to a disk file)
          just before and just after the *.fw script (inside the rc.local script).

          My Asteris box was no longer blocking my retistration to the VOIP
          provider. To make certain, when I commented out the "writes" (and
          rebooted), I was again blocked.  So I just put in a "sleep" of 2
          seconds in place of the "writes", and everything with Asterisk is now

          So, what do you think, a timing problem? Hardware? I do have a
          dual core in this machine, and I would presume the boot process
          uses both CPUs - or not?

          Gerald H

          • Vadim Kurland

            Vadim Kurland - 2009-05-06

            what if you do not run .fw script at all, and then check the state of iptables using "iptables -t filter -L -n" command (and also for mangle and nat tables) ? If any rules get loaded, then you still have some other iptables script that gets activated at startup time in parallel with .fw script and your delay of 2 sec just fights this race condition

            • GeraldH

              GeraldH - 2009-05-07

              Answer to your last question:
                In rc.local I ONLY wrote out (to a disk file) the 3 tables - no *.fw.
              There were no additional rules in the iptables - just a table name
              with the "ACCEPT" and in the next line just the column headings.

                After logging in (after the reboot), I also displayed all 3 tables
              and the results were exactly as what was displayed from the
              rc.local script during the boot process. So, I'll stick with the
              "sleep" commands in rc.local.

                I have just finished another Asterisk box (on a different public IP)
              that will peer to the current box over the IAX2 protocol: so if there
              is any difference in behavior I'll let you know.

                I don't think that Firewall Builder is causing the blocking effect,
              but I do recall from somewhere that it does alter/modify some kernel
              parameters. If it really does, I have a question concering this
              aspect as it relates to the kernel IP routing table, but I'll start
              a new thread for this topic.

                Again, your GUI Firewall Builder is a great product, and I never
              would have become involved with the iptables before - would
              have just continued to rely on the router in front of the Asterisk

              Gerald H

              • Vadim Kurland

                Vadim Kurland - 2009-05-07

                script created by fwbuilder loads iptables modules into the kernel. It does it at the very beginning, before any rules are added to tables. You need modules for stateful tracking of protocols, including SIP and others used for VOIP.

                Script can also turn on/off ip forwarding in the kernel and few other parameters. You can find GUI controls for these in the "advanced" dialog for Linux os. Just hit the button "Host OS Settings" in the firewall object dialog.

                However I would assume all these things would cause immediate and permanent breakage if they were configured in a wrong way. There must be something else that is working during boot time in parallel with rc.local and the delay you added to rc.local makes firewall policy activate slightly later, when this "other thing" has finished.

                I noticed you said that default policy was ACCEPT in all chains. Perhaps you forgot to add a rule to permit some communication that firewall wants to do. So, if firewall has few seconds to do this something before your firewall script is activated, it works. But without delay it can;t do it. This is just a hypothesis of course.

                • GeraldH

                  GeraldH - 2009-05-08

                    Yes, I saw the Host OS options, but I didn't want to touch those without a better
                  understanding of their significance ( and don't want to break my phone system).
                  When I finish installing Asterisk on my other Ubuntu box, I'll feel better about trying

                    As to your last paragraph: I am probably using poor terminology regarding the
                  iptables (always relied on my router for the firewall).  When I use the terms clear,
                  empty, no firewall, no rules, the expert iptables guy probably envisions different
                  things. Here's what my FILTER (and MANGLE & NAT) table looks like BEFORE I
                  run the firewall builder script:

                    FILTER TABLE CHAINS

                  Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
                  num  target     prot opt source               destination        

                  Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)
                  num  target     prot opt source               destination        

                  Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
                  num  target     prot opt source               destination

                  The "ACCEPT" line is what I was referring to in my previous posting.  So, is it
                  (in iptables "speak") correct to say I have no rules in my firewall? Or, I have no
                  firewall? Or, my firewall accepts all packets?  Honestly, in the Asterisk forum
                  when iptables were used/suggested, I just tuned it out :-).  Have learned more
                  about iptables in the last month, than I had anticipated.


                  • Vadim Kurland

                    Vadim Kurland - 2009-05-08

                    this output from iptables -L means that you have no rules and default policies are ACCEPT. In other words, this is "no firewall", yes.

                    • GeraldH

                      GeraldH - 2009-05-09


                        As a final note of interest in this topic, I finished installing Asterisk
                      in a 2nd Ubuntu Intrepid box, and, wouldn't you know, I don't have
                      the issue of being blocked on my registrations to the VOIP. So, I
                      don't need the "sleep" command in rc.local for this machine. One
                      might expect this since it will only talk peer-to-peer (IAX2) with the other
                      Asterisk box and not do any registrations!!

                        But the hardware is quite different (AMD quad-core Phenom II with
                      fast memory) and I have the latest (actually a release candidate)
                      version of the asterisk software. So, the timing is entirely different.

                      Thanks for your help,
                      Gerald H


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