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Replacing the OS on a Watchguard X20e with opensource

Posted on 2014-03-02
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I have several Watchguard X10 and X20e firewalls setting around gathering dust. They are out of their subscription time and therefore no good to anyone.
Is there an open source firewall software that can be installed on them without much modification? I see that PFSense says they are not supported but I assume there are other free firewall programs out there that may work.
Any ideas?
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Question by:TcAnthony
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Cliff Galiher earned 1000 total points
ID: 39898847
I am not aware of any. Watchguard used to (and as far as I know, still does) employ custom firmware and boot routine. So while the OS itself is Linux, it isn't all stock easily replaceable stuff like consumer (DD-WRT) routers. It is far more similar to rooting an android phone or an iPhone, in that there are security checks in place, and specific exploits would have to be used to crack it. I doubt anybody has felt Watchguard devices were worth that effort. After all, it isn't like android or iOS where you still want to keep the core OS. PFSense or others would obliterate the watchguard OS. And when new, the hardware is at a premium markup cost than building a PFsense box of similar power.

There just isn't much motivation to load alternative OSes on premium business devices (juniper, Cisco, etc. So nobody is cracking them for that purpose that I've seen. Nor would I trust a device to provide security that had such an exploitable flaw at the firmware level, even with a new OS.
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by:Michael Ortega
Michael Ortega earned 1000 total points
ID: 39898882
Not to mention that both devices have terrible CPU and memory resources (comparable to other manufacturers equivalent devices), so running any derivative of Linux other than the slimmed down, custom version that WG has put on the devices would likely result in disastrous performance.

MO
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