command [options]

System administration command. Configure netfilter filtering rules. In the 2.4 kernel, the ipchains firewall capabilities are replaced with the netfilter kernel module. netfilter can be configured to work just like ipchains, but it also comes with the module iptables, which is similar to ipchains but extensible. iptables rules consist of some matching criteria and a target, a result to be applied if the packet matches the criteria. The rules are organized into chains. You can use these rules to build a firewall, masquerade your local area network, or just reject certain kinds of network connections.

There are three built-in tables for iptables: one for network filtering (filter), one for Network Address Translation (nat), and the last for specialized packet alterations (mangle). Firewall rules are organized into chains, ordered checklists of rules that the kernel works through looking for matches. The filter table has three built-in chains: INPUT, OUTPUT, and FORWARD. The INPUT and OUTPUT chains handle packets originating from or destined for the host system. The FORWARD chain handles packets just passing through the host system. The nat table also has three built-in chains: PREROUTING, POSTROUTING, and OUTPUT. mangle has only two chains: PREROUTING and OUTPUT.

netfilter checks packets entering the system. After applying any PREROUTING rules, it passes them to the INPUT chain, or to the FORWARD chain if the packet is just passing through. ...

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