Iptables is used to set up, maintain, and inspect the tables of IP packet filter rules in the Linux kernel. Several different tables may be defined. Each table contains a number of built-in chains and may also contain user-defined chains.
Each chain is a list of rules which can match a set of packets. Each rule specifies what to do with a packet that matches. This is called a ‘target’, which may be a jump to a user-defined chain in the same table.
A firewall rule specifies criteria for a packet, and a target. If the packet does not match, the next rule in the chain is the examined; if it does match, then the next rule is specified by the value of the target, which can be the name of a user-defined chain or one of the special values ACCEPT, DROP, QUEUE, or RETURN.
ACCEPT means to let the packet through. DROP means to drop the packet on the floor. QUEUE means to pass the packet to userspace. RETURN means stop traversing this chain and resume at the next rule in the previous (calling) chain. If the end of a built-in chain is reached or a rule in a built-in chain with target RETURN is matched, the target specified by the chain policy determines the fate of the packet.
There are currently three independent tables (which tables are present at any time depends on the kernel configuration options and which modules are present).
-t, –table table
This option specifies the packet matching table which the command should operate on. If the kernel is configured with automatic module loading, an attempt will be made to load the appropriate module for that table if it is not already there.
The tables are as follows:
This is the default table (if no -t option is passed). It contains the built-in chains INPUT (for packets destined to local sockets), FORWARD (for packets being routed through the box), and OUTPUT (for locally-generated packets).
This table is consulted when a packet that creates a new connection is encountered. It consists of three built-ins: PREROUTING (for altering packets as soon as they come in), OUTPUT (for altering locally-generated packets before routing), and POSTROUTING (for altering packets as they are about to go out).
This table is used for specialized packet alteration. Until kernel 2.4.17 it had two built-in chains: PREROUTING (for altering incoming packets before routing) and OUTPUT (for altering locally-generated packets before routing). Since kernel 2.4.18, three other built-in chains are also supported: INPUT (for packets coming into the box itself), FORWARD (for altering packets being routed through the box), and POSTROUTING (for altering packets as they are about to go out).
This table is used mainly for configuring exemptions from connection tracking in combination with the NOTRACK target. It registers at the netfilter hooks with higher priority and is thus called before ip_conntrack, or any other IP tables. It provides the following built-in chains: PREROUTING (for packets arriving via any network interface) OUTPUT (for packets generated by local processes)
Some Userful Commands
#1: Displaying the Status of Firewall
As Root User.
# iptables -L
-L: List the
#1: Open Iptables file for Add /Edit
As Root User.
# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables
Open iptables file in edit mode. Vi is the linux editor