ALIX Monowall Firewall – Part 1

This tutorial covers the installation of Monowall (M0n0wall) onto a compact flash card utilizing a Mac and assembling the firewall. The firewall is being built utilizing an ALIX embedded system. This is the first part in a series of tutorials which will range from basic configuration of the firewall to more advanced topics such as IPSEC tunnels and VPN clients.
Download the Monowall embedded image file
Visit Monowall’s website and download the embedded image file for ALIX. Below is a link to the appropriate page.
Monowall Download Page: http://m0n0.ch/wall/beta.php
Place the file you just downloaded onto your desktop.

Run Disk Utility

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Insert a compact flash card into a card reader attached to your computer, a 256MB card will do just fine. Open up ‘Disk Utility’ which is located in the ‘Utilities’ folder under ‘Applications’ on your boot drive. Select the Compact Flash card you inserted on the right side. Make sure that you select the right drive, double check to make sure the size matches the card. Be very careful, if you select the wrong drive you could wipe all the information from a hard drive. Right-Click on the drive and select information.

Compact Flash Disk ID

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Jot down the the ‘Disk Identifier’ information associated with the drive. This number will vary on your own system so do not use the information listed above. Writing the wrong information down could result in one of your hard drives being wiped so pay very close attention. You will need this information for the next step.

Partition Mounted?

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If there is a partition on the Compact Flash Card it needs to be unmounted. Right-Click on the partition listed underneath Compact Flash Card and select ‘Unmount’.

Run Terminal

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When you open Terminal it will default to your home directory. Issue the following commands to change to the desktop directory and write out the image file to the Compact Flash Card:
cd desktop
gzcat embedded-1.3b16.img | dd of=/dev/disk# bs=16k (Insert the Disk ID number that you jotted down from the previous step) Last warning if you enter the wrong information you could wipe a hard drive or other removable drive connected to your system)
You should receive a message as displayed above. If you receive a message that states the resource is busy, it means that you did not unmount a partition on the Compact Flash Card. Please go back to the previous step and unmount the partition.

Assemble the firewall

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Remove the the Compact Flash Card from the card reader and insert it into the card slot on the ALIX board. Do this before you install it into the case as it will block the slot. This would also be good time to install any add in cards you might have into the mini-pci slots (wifi, vpn accelerator) Remove the hex bolts on both sides of the serial port, otherwise you cannot slip it into the case. Slide the board with the network ports going in first so they slide into the cutouts. With that inserted screw in the board to case, followed by reattaching the the hex bolts on the both sides of the serial port. Put the cover on the case and screw it in place. Thats all there is to it, pretty simple wouldn’t you say?

Log into the firewall

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Plug your firewall into the network utilizing the LAN port and power up the unit. You can either plug the firewall into a switch or directly into your network port on your computer. The DHCP server on the firewall will supply your workstation with the appropriate IP address information. Give it a couple of minutes to finish booting up. Open up your favorite browser and type: http://192.168.1.1 into the address bar. This is the default address of the firewall. You will be prompted to login into the firewall, the following are the default credentials:
Username: admin
Password: mono
This information is case sensitive, make sure you enter everything in lower case.
That is it for the first part of the tutorial. The next tutorial will walk you through the basic configuration if the firewall. Subsequent tutorials will discuss more advanced features, such as creating tunnels between two remote firewalls.

Site Redesign

Over the weekend I did a quick redesign of the site. I gave it a cleaner look, consolidated the main categories and added subcategories to make navigation of the site a little easier and quicker. There are still some little tweaks here and there that I have to complete but the main framework of the design will remain. I am pretty happy with my decision to move to GatorHost they have been pretty solid for the little time I have been with them thus far. Their control panel is much better than what 1and1 offered and their support is top notch. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on the redesign please leave a comment.

Switched Web Hosts

Over the weekend I moved my websites away from 1AND1 to HostGator. Recently I was having to many issues with 1AND1, primarily with my sites taking to long to be served. I have to say I always hated calling into 1AND1 tech support because it was obvious you were talking to someone that didn’t have a clue. I was pleasantly surprised when I had problems porting this site over and freighting having to speak to HostGator’s technical support and getting some pretty knowledgeable people. On three occasions speaking with different individuals, I found that they really had their act together and knew what they were doing and were quite versed with WordPress and mySQL.

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m0n0wall & pfSense Tutorials

I am in the process of creating an updated video tutorial on installing Monowall (m0n0wall) firewall on an ALIX embedded system. While I am at it, I will also doing the same for the pfSense firewall installed on the same platform. There will also be written guides to go along with these video tutorials. These forthcoming guides will come in segments ranging from copying the firewall to a CF card that will be inserted into the system board to more advanced topics such as configuring IPSEC tunnels. You should see the first of these tutorials released on July 15th.
Enjoy the tutorials and should you have any recommendations or things you would like to see included in these tutorials just leave a comment.
UPDATE: I ran into a personal matter which had delayed the production of the first segment. I should have it completed and posted within the next couple of days. Sorry about the unexpected delay.

Embedded Monowall: Installation


UPDATE: An updated tutorial has been posted here: http://www.techunplugged.com/2009/07/22/alix-monowall-firewall-part-1/
This tutorial will guide you through copying the m0n0wall image to a compact flash card and the initial configuration of the m0n0wall on the ALIX embedded board. I will be using a VPN accelerator card since I will have about 10 IPsec tunnels actively running at one time. I would only recommend using the VPN accelerator card if you plan on maintaining several VPN tunnels at one time, otherwise it is overkill. The following is a list of the items that were used:
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