Alternative Firmware for Wireless APs: Thibor

So far, I've told you about three alternative firmware packages for wireless access points (APs): DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and Talisman. If you missed those stories, you can read them at our Web site at their respective URLs:

Continuing this series, this week, I give you a peek into Thibor. Unlike the previously discussed firmware, Thibor is designed specifically for the Linksys WRT54G, WRT54GL, WRT54GS, and WRTSL54GS routers.

Like the other firmware packages, Thibor is based on the open source code published by Linksys. Thibor is actually a continuation of the firmware package HyperWRT, which started in 2004 and was, as far as I know, maintained until early 2005. When HyperWRT development apparently ceased, two other developers picked up the ball to continue independent development of HyperWRT forks. Eventually the two packages were merged into what became known as Thibor.

Like DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and Talisman, Thibor includes enhancements to the core features available in the Linksys firmware. These include enhancements to the Quality of Service (QoS) traffic shaping, port forwarding, and port triggering subsystems, as well as access restrictions including the blocking of specific services.

Added features include static DHCP leasing, a port redirector, a site survey tool, support for DDNS including the ZoneEdit tool, and Wake-on-LAN capability. In terms of security, Thibor also includes the Dropbear Secure Shell (SSH) server and client as well as enhanced filtering that can block potentially unwanted content, such as Java applets, ActiveX controls, cookies, and P2P software such as BitTorrent, Kazaa, WinMX, Direct Connect (DC), and Gnucleus.

As you might expect, Thibor supports PPTP for VPNs and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and WPA2 for communication encryption, and even supports a number of file systems including NTFS, FAT, FAT32, ReiserFS, Ext2, and Ext3.

In the previous articles of this series, I said that the firmware packages include ipchains firewall software. However, reader Bonno Bloksma wrote to correct me. Iptables ia a much improved successor to ipchains. The firmware packages I've mentioned to date, including Thibor, use iptables. Thanks, Bonno, for pointing out that mistake.

Thibor not only includes iptables but can also be made to use Firewall Builder. Firewall Builder is a GUI-based tool that's designed to make creating iptable firewall policies easier. Firewall Builder creates a script that you copy to the router. The script then configures iptables with the behavior that you've defined. At the Firewall Builder site (at the URL below), you can also see some screenshots of the tool in action.

Like DD-WRT and Talisman, Thibor (at the first URL below) includes an easy-to-use GUI. Although HyperWRT isn't being maintained anymore, the Web site (at the second URL below)is still active and has a Web-based forum where people can openly discuss problems, request features, and get help using the Thibor firmware.

TAGS: Security
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