iptables is a user-space application program that allows a system administrator to configure the tables provided by the Linux kernel firewall (implemented as different Netfilter modules) and the chains and rules it stores.
Iptables is a firewall, installed by default.
Before we can really get to grips with iptables, we need to have at least a basic understanding of the way it works. Iptables uses the concept of IP addresses, protocols (tcp, udp, icmp) and ports. We don’t need to be experts in these to get started (as we can look up any of the information we need), but it helps to have a general understanding.
Iptables places rules into predefined chains (INPUT, OUTPUT and FORWARD) that are checked against any network traffic (IP packets) relevant to those chains and a decision is made about what to do with each packet based upon the outcome of those rules, i.e. accepting or dropping the packet. These actions are referred to as targets, of which the two most common predefined targets are DROP to drop a packet or ACCEPT to accept a packet.
Working with iptables from the command line requires root privileges, so you will need to become root for most things we will be doing.
You can check to see if iptables is installed on your system by:
$ rpm -q iptables
To see if iptables is actually running, we can check that the iptables modules are loaded and use the -L switch to inspect the currently loaded rules:
# lsmod | grep ip_tables
# iptables -L
If iptables is not running and you want to enable it, you can enable it by running:
To clear all the currently configured rules, you can issue the flush command
# iptables -F
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