Get A Free Home-Use Version Of This Enterprise Firewall Appliance


If you've ever looked at the relatively limited firewall settings on your internet router and wondered what it would be like to run and manage a proper enterprise-level firewall, here's something that may interest you.  (And conversely, if playing with corporate-grade IT isn't something that excites you, you may wish to stop reading at this point).

In the world of UTM (Unified Threat Management, otherwise perfectly sensibly known as simply "security"), Sophos is a well-known player.  Its UTM appliance is a self-contained computer that acts as a fully-featured firewall as well as managing the security of your network as a whole. It also includes features such as web site filtering, to stop the kids from accesing sites they shouldn't, and mail filtering to help prevent spam.

Although the full product costs many thousands of dollars, you can also get a home version completely free, which you download and install onto a spare PC.

It's the complete corporate version, but licenced only for home use and limited to a network of no more than 50 IP addresses.  Which should be plenty.

You will, as mentioned, need a spare PC for this.  Once you've downloaded the software from and burned it to a disc, and then installed it onto said spare computer, you'll have a ready-to-play UTM appliance complete with its own operating system.  

As mentioned, this is serious kit for serious fiddling, so don't expect to have it up and running in 10 minutes.  But if you're interested in such things, and have a spare PC (or a virtual machine), then give it a try.  There's lots of useful information on the Sophos web site to help you.




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Looks like a great addition to protect a home or small business network. However, the Terms of Use are a bit disconcerting. In this age of renewed privacy concerns, as a user I must allow Sophos access to modify my system and read its logs. It appears that in exchange for a free tool, users will be helping Sophos to develop that tool through an expansion of their database of user systems. Am I paranoid? I'll have to think about this before installing the Licensed Tool. From the License Agreement:

7.1 Licensee acknowledges and agrees that Sophos may directly and remotely communicate with the Licensed Tool for the purposes of, without limitation, (i) verifying credentials; (ii) issuing reports and alert messages; (iii) providing support; (iv) applying policy and configuration changes; and (v) extracting usage information, service performance information, and logs.
7.2 Licensee agrees that Sophos may use any such data for its business purposes... .

This also seems to mean that it comes with inbuilt back door(s).

If Sophos can access this stuff, so can anyone else who has the keys.

Thanks. This looks like lots of real fun and learning for me. However, I (We) now *expect* a full discussion of how it works for you on both standalone hardware and the VM you mention.

ASIDE: I know you all have been paying close attention to this fact but I'll remind you anyway: We are coming up on my Second Birthday here at Gizmo/TechSupportAlert. Yeah! I was a late bloomer but still look forward to my surprise party... with lots of gifts. Don't disappoint. I'd hate to throw a Terrible-Two tantrum here.


The only problem with this is that the "spare" PC needs to be an X64 architecture machine. Not an ix86. Shame.

Funny that one of the "must-fill-in" spots on the download form is for "company name"---> for a home-user product?

This software UTM was formally known as Astaro Gateway before Sophos bought Astaro several years ago.