How to read
This document could either be read as a reference or from start to end. It was originally written as a small introduction to iptables and to some extent netfilter, but this focus has changed over the years. It aims at being an as complete reference as possibly to iptables and netfilter and to at least give a basic and fast primer or repetition to the areas that you might need to understand. It should be noted that this document will not, nor will it be able to, deal with specific bugs inside or outside the scope of iptables and netfilter, nor does it really deal with how to get around bugs like this.
If you find peculiar bugs or behaviors in iptables or any of the subcomponents, you should contact the Netfilter mailing lists and tell them about the problem and they can tell you if this is a real bug or if it has already been fixed. There are security related bugs found in iptables and Netfilter, one or two do slip by once in a while, it’s inevitable. These are properly shown on the front page of the Netfilter main page, and that is where you should go to get information on such topics.
The above also implies that the rule-sets available with this tutorial are not written to deal with actual bugs inside Netfilter. The main goal of them is to simply show how to set up rules in a nice simple fashion that deals with all problems we may run into. For example, this tutorial will not cover how we would close down the HTTP port for the simple reason that Apache happens to be vulnerable in version 1.2.12 (This is covered really, though not for that reason).
This document was written to give everyone a good and simple primer at how to get started with iptables, but at the same time it was created to be as complete as possible. It does not contain any targets or matches that are in patch-o-matic for the simple reason that it would require too much effort to keep such a list updated. If you need information about the patch-o-matic updates, you should read the info that comes with it in patch-o-matic as well as the other documentations available on the Netfilter main page.
If you have any suggestions on additions or if you think you find any problems around the area of iptables and netfilter not covered in this document feel free to contact me about this. I will be more than happy to take a look at it and possibly add what might be missing.