18.3.2. Basic Firewall Policies

Establishing basic firewall policies creates a foundation for building more detailed, user-defined rules.
Each iptables chain is comprised of a default policy, and zero or more rules which work in concert with the default policy to define the overall ruleset for the firewall.
The default policy for a chain can be either DROP or ACCEPT. Security-minded administrators typically implement a default policy of DROP, and only allow specific packets on a case-by-case basis. For example, the following policies block all incoming and outgoing packets on a network gateway:
[root@myServer ~ ] # iptables -P INPUT DROP
[root@myServer ~ ] # iptables -P OUTPUT DROP
It is also recommended that any forwarded packets — network traffic that is to be routed from the firewall to its destination node — be denied as well, to restrict internal clients from inadvertent exposure to the Internet. To do this, use the following rule:
[root@myServer ~ ] # iptables -P FORWARD DROP
When you have established the default policies for each chain, you can create and save further rules for your particular network and security requirements.
The following sections describe how to save iptables rules and outline some of the rules you might implement in the course of building your iptables firewall.