Software firewall for windows XP, with facility to configure rules outside of a GUI

Hi.

I am building an internet billing application to run on an XP box.

I need to find a way to implement a software firewall solution that allows for editing of rules via either a database connection, text/xml file editing, or registry editing.  In short, I need to control the rules dynamically from a VB COM application.

Help!  I have pulled my hair out today trying to do this.  The closest that I have come is EasySec's firewall SDK (http://www.effectmatrix.com/easysec/index.htm), but this looks hellishly difficult to operate.  It gives me the facility to build a firewall application, but this is not what I need.  I purely need to be able to edit the rules on the fly.

Thanks, TheFoot
LVL 12
Barry JonesAsked:
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
These guys offer a hardware firewall that can be controled from the windows command prompt
http://www.clavister.com/products/
http://www.clavister.com/support/support_utilities_fwctl.html

Sorry I can't find any windows based firewalls that support command rule change

I know that with a little effort you can use Symantec's Client firewall to create your rules and assign them.  You can store your rule set as an XML file so you can edit it on the fly, then they have a command line tule to apply the policy, it will take about 30 - 60 seconds to complete the entire operation though.

eb
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naveedbCommented:
You can use netsh on XP to configure the firewall rules. Since Windows firewall comes with XP, you just need to turn it on and then use netsh scripts to modify the behavior. You don't need to reinvent the wheel.

The following article should give you some idea how to proceed with netsh.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/839980/

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Barry JonesAuthor Commented:
Hi Naveedb,

Thanks for your post.  I will look into this just now.  I suspect that I cannot use windows firewall as I have disabled it to enable NAT to work on the WinXP box.  I will let you know.

TheFoot
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Barry JonesAuthor Commented:
I cannot now enable the windows firewall.  I suspect this is due to the fact that (using netsh) I enabled NAT routing.  IF I disable NAT and enable the win firewall then I have to use ICS to route and I cannot.

Thanks Naveedb.. any other ideas?

TheFoot
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naveedbCommented:
I am little confused. Do you need to use ICS?
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Barry JonesAuthor Commented:
Naveedb, No I do not need or want ICS.  AFAIK I have to stop the Windows Firewall / ICS Service to allow NAT to work properly.  In fact, now I have enabled NAT, I cannot turn on the FW/ICS service.

Eb, I like the idea of a HW firewall, except for the fact that I am designing the internet box as a single device using a customized micro-atx case which has a switch built in to it.  There is no space to include another device.  Also, the cost of the device will then be too high.

Thanks both for your ideas.
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Then I would start calling companies like Symantec, McAffe, Zone Alarms and ask for pre-sales support.  Ask a teck support rep if you can change the firewall policy on the fly from the command prompt.

BTW there are alredy devices out there that do what you want.
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
As far as your origional question

(hit enter too fast)

eb
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naveedbCommented:
Can you explain your issue with netsh and what commands did you use to configre the firewall?
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
netsh is for the windows firewall, in order for the asker to create a NAT router in XP they had to disable the windows firewall.

eb
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Barry JonesAuthor Commented:
Naveedb - yes as Eb says, I had to disable the windows firewall because it cannot be separated properly from ICS (as far as I know) and ICS cannot co-exist with the NAT router functions. (See Q_21920714.html for the exact commands that I used to enable NAT)

Eb, I have asked many firewall companies, and the ones that actually get back to me have said that it is not possible to edit the rules from the file system.  My current best hope is Tiny Firewall (www.tinysoftware.com) and they also have a development kit, so I may have to build a wrapper around this firewall engine.  I'll let you know what I find out.

The reason for building the device myself, is that I can keep the cost to a minimum, and properly integrate it with my billing application.

Thanks, TheFoot
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Erik BjersPrincipal Systems AdministratorCommented:
OK good luck

eb
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Barry JonesAuthor Commented:
Sorry - I have been travelling.

I have decided to go with a piece of software called DNS redirector to achieve what i need rather than programmatically controlling a firewall.  Here is the EE article detailing the solution:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Programming_Languages/Visual_Basic/Q_21922358.html

Thanks all for helping with this matter.  At some point in the future I would still like to use my original solution, so if and when I find a solution, I will start a new thread.

Cheers, TheFoot
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