Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) : don't confuse it or you will be locked out / 2021-06-02

2021-06-02 Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) : don't confuse it or you will be locked out 1 week ago
I am looking at better protection inside my home network since there is a mix of "trusted" and "not so trusted" devices in the house. I consider devices that just need Internet access to talk to some server out there (the well-known "cloud" better known as "Someone else's computer") and are (mostly) black boxes untrusted compared to systems that are installed with a known operating system and where I can control what they can and can't do.

One of the things I wanted to improve are local host-based firewalls. The firewall in the router linux machine is the result of years of fine-tuning and experience so I manage that by hand. But for somewhat standard hosts I want simple firewalls that are easily managed.

I tried ufw, the Uncomplicated Firewall and on the first (test) machine it went fine without a problem. On the second machine where there are already a few active firewall rules managed by fail2ban something hickupped and before I knew it ufw managed to leave me with an unreachable machine.

The error message from ufw-init was something about being unable to initialize firewall rule ufw-track-output and the net result was that the machine became unreachable. I needed console access to get back in again. Removing/purging the ufw package didn't help, after reinstalling it and trying again the same error came up and the system was unreachable again.

It turns out ufw leaves its own rules in iptables/ip6tables active (prefixed with 'ufw') and this confused ufw-init. I tried removing them by hand (lots of work) or with a very small shell script, but in the end rebooting the machine and only reinstalling ufw after that reboot got me back to a normal usable situation.

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