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CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 - 2.3 - Common Firewall Technologies: iptables

Firewalls are essential components of a secure computer system or network, providing protection against unauthorized access and controlling network traffic. In the context of the CompTIA Linux+ exam, understanding how to implement and configure firewalls is crucial for maintaining a secure Linux environment. One common firewall technology used in Linux distributions is iptables. This guide will provide you with a step-by-step approach to implementing and configuring iptables.

iptables Command

iptables is a powerful firewall utility available in most Linux distributions. It allows you to define firewall rules and filter network packets based on various criteria, such as source/destination IP addresses, ports, and protocols. Here's how you can implement and configure iptables:

  • Check the current iptables configuration: Use the following command to view the current iptables rules and policies:

    sudo iptables -L

    This command displays the existing chains, rules, and policies for IPv4.

  • Define firewall rules: iptables operates based on rules organized in chains. You can create custom chains and define rules within them. Use the following command to add a rule to the appropriate chain:

    • -A chain_name: Appends the rule to the specified chain.
    • -p protocol: Specifies the protocol to match (e.g., tcp, udp).
    • --source source_address: Specifies the source IP address or range.
    • --destination destination_address: Specifies the destination IP address or range.
    • --dport port_number: Specifies the destination port number.
    • -j action: Specifies the action to take for the matched packets (e.g., ACCEPT, DROP, REJECT).


    sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --source --destination --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

    This rule appends to the INPUT chain, matches TCP packets from the source IP range destined for IP on port 80, and accepts them.

  • Save iptables rules: To save the iptables rules and make them persistent across reboots, use the following command:

    # Debian Based Systems
    sudo iptables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v4
    # Red Hat Based Systems
    sudo iptables-save > /etc/sysconfig/iptables

    This command saves the current iptables rules to the /etc/iptables/rules.v4 file.

  • Load saved iptables rules: To load the previously saved iptables rules from the /etc/iptables/rules.v4 file, use the following command:

    # Debian Based Systems
    sudo iptables-restore < /etc/iptables/rules.v4
    # Red Hat Based Systems
    sudo iptables-restore < /etc/sysconfig/iptables

    This command loads the saved iptables rules, restoring the firewall configuration.

  • Configure iptables for IPv6: If you need to configure iptables for IPv6, use the ip6tables command instead of iptables. The concepts and syntax are similar to configuring iptables for IPv4.


iptables is a common firewall technology used in Linux distributions, providing robust packet filtering capabilities. By understanding the concepts and following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be well-prepared to implement and configure iptables in your Linux system. Remember to familiarize yourself with the specific commands, chains, and rule syntax of iptables in your distribution.

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