The Book of PF
A No-Nonsense Guide to the OpenBSD Firewall
Publisher: No Starch Press
Final Release Date: December 2007
Pages: 184

OpenBSD's stateful packet filter, PF, offers an amazing feature set and support across the major BSD platforms. Like most firewall software though, unlocking PF's full potential takes a good teacher.Peter N.M. Hansteen's PF website and conference tutorials have helped thousands of users build the networks they need using PF. The Book of PF is the product of Hansteen's knowledge and experience, teaching good practices as well as bare facts and software options. Throughout the book, Hansteen emphasizes the importance of staying in control by having a written network specification, using macros to make rule sets more readable, and performing rigid testing when loading in new rules.

Today's system administrators face increasing challenges in the quest for network quality, and The Book of PF can help by demystifying the tools of modern *BSD network defense. But, perhaps more importantly, because we know you like to tinker, The Book of PF tackles a broad range of topics that will stimulate your mind and pad your resume, including how to:

  • Create rule sets for all kinds of network traffic, whether it is crossing a simple home LAN, hiding behind NAT, traversing DMZs, or spanning bridges
  • Use PF to create a wireless access point, and lock it down tight with authpf and special access restrictions
  • Maximize availability by using redirection rules for load balancing and CARP for failover
  • Use tables for proactive defense against would-be attackers and spammers
  • Set up queues and traffic shaping with ALTQ, so your network stays responsive
  • Master your logs with monitoring and visualization, because you can never be too paranoid

The Book of PF is written for BSD enthusiasts and network admins at any level of expertise. With more and more services placing high demands on bandwidth and increasing hostility coming from the Internet at-large, you can never be too skilled with PF.

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oreillyThe Book of PF
 
4.0

(based on 2 reviews)

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5.0

A very accessible book on OpenBSD's PF firewall

By Dave Walz-Burkett

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Book of PF:

If you're looking for information about the OpenBSD packet filter program "pf", you may have noticed a gaping hole on bookstore shelves. Two books that I have read on pf are "Building Firewalls with OpenBSD and PF, 2nd Edition" by Jacek Artymiak and the No Starch Press title, "The Book of PF", by Peter N.M. Hansteen.

"The Book of PF" is by far the easier of the two books to digest and will help you get up to speed very quickly. It's a short book, weighing in at 145 pages. The example rule sets are simple to follow and very thoroughly documented.

Hansteen helps you navigate through pf's basic configuration and then takes you through more advanced topics like wireless networks and how to deal with 'bigger or trickier networks'. There is also a treatment of OpenBSD's spamd program, designed to help you combat spam on your network.

You'll find a chapter on Alternate Queuing (ALTQ) and Common Address Redundancy Protocol (CARP). ALTQ provides a way to shape the traffic on your network and was integrated into pf for the OpenBSD 3.3 release. CARP was added to OpenBSD in release 3.5 to address the issue of high availability and uninterrupted service.

A chapter covering Logging, Monitoring, and Statistics helps bring it all together for the network administrator. Hansteen closes out the text with a chapter titled "Getting Your Setup Just Right" that provides a last-minute review of some of the most important configuration options.

If you're interested in "The Book of PF", most likely you're already familiar with OpenBSD - one of the most secure operating systems available today. If you're ready to enhance OpenBSD's default security, pick up a copy of this book and spend some time with the pf program.

 
3.0

PF review by Pcola LUG

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Book of PF:

Mr. Hansteen, Did a rather good job of putting this book together. The chapters flowed well and one led into the next in a very logical manner. I especially found useful the sections on Round-robin and setting up wireless (Chapter 4 and 7).

Although I make a business of building firewalls I will be keeping this book close at hand. Sadly I only gave 3 stars as I felt the editing could have been better I found several errors with the sample scripts and rules and found it lacking with one or two advanced areas for the professionals would have made this a 5 star easy.

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