6.9. Mirabilis ICQ

ICQ, the instant messaging client now owned by AOL, has changed over the years. All modern ICQ clients are NAT friendly and thus DON'T require any special NAT modules, PORTFW tricks, etc.

IF, for some reason, you want to run an OLD ICQ client, you can read this section. If not, just IGNORE all this info. I am leaving this in the HOWTO demonstrate large a LARGE PORTFW example.

There are three methods of getting ICQ to work behind a Linux MASQ server. These solutions include the use the ICQ Masq module (for 2.2.x and 2.0.x kernels), using IPPORTFW for basic ICQ functionality, or setting up a SOCKS proxy server.

MODULE: The ICQ module was written for the older generation of ICQ clients for both the 2.2.x and 2.0.x kernels. This module allows for the simple setup of multiple ICQ users behind a MASQ server. It also doesn't require any special changes to the ICQ client(s). Recently, AOL changed the protocol and ports used for ICQ. Because of this, many users might find that the ip_masq_icq module will no longer help them. For users of the older ICQ clients, the 2.2.x version of the module supports file transfer and read-time chat. The 2.0.x kernel module doesn't support file transfers and there is no module available for the 2.4.x kernels.

PORTFW: Your next option is to use port forwarding. With port forwarding, basic ICQ chat will work but file transfers might not be very reliable. Please see below for an example of how to configure ICQ PORTFW.

SOCKS: Finally, your last and possibly best option is to setup a SOCKS proxy server on your Linux machine. This service can happily co-exist with the MASQ service and ICQ should be fully functional regardless of what Linux kernel version you are running. The use of a SOCKS server will require ALL ICQ clients to be reconfigured to use it and the installation and configuration of a SOCKS server has nothing to do with IP Masquerade. Because of this, SOCKS is not covered in this HOWTO.

If you are interested in Andrew Deryabin's djsf@usa.net ICQ IP Masq module for the 2.2.x and 2.0.x kernels, please see Section 2.7 for details.

To use port forwarding (PORFW)for ICQ, you will have to make some changes on both Linux and ICQ clients but all ICQ messaging, URLs, chat, and some file transfers should work.

  • First, you need to be running a Linux kernel with IPPPORTFW enabled. Please see Section 6.7for more details.

  • Next, you need to add the following lines to your /etc/rc.d/rc.firewall-* file. This example assumes that is your external Internet IP address and your internal MASQed ICQ machine is

  • The following example is for a 2.2.x kernel with IPCHAINS:

    I have included two examples here for the user: Either one would work fine:

    Example #1

    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2000 -R 2000
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2001 -R 2001
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2002 -R 2002
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2003 -R 2003
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2004 -R 2004
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2005 -R 2005
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2006 -R 2006
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2007 -R 2007
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2008 -R 2008
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2009 -R 2009
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2010 -R 2010
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2011 -R 2011
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2012 -R 2012
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2013 -R 2013
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2014 -R 2014
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2015 -R 2015
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2016 -R 2016
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2017 -R 2017
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2018 -R 2018
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2019 -R 2019
    /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 2020 -R 2020
    Example #2
    while [ $port -le 2020 ]
        /usr/local/sbin/ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L $port -R $port

  • The following example is for a 2.0.x kernel with IPFWADM:

    I have included two examples here for the user: Either one would work fine:

    Example #1

    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2000 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2001 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2002 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2003 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2004 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2005 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2006 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2007 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2008 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2009 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2010 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2011 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2012 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2013 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2014 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2015 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2016 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2017 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2018 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2019 -R
    /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A -t10.1.2.3/2020 -R

    Example #2

    while [ $port -le 2020 ]
        /usr/local/sbin/ipportfw -A t10.1.2.3/$port -R$port

  • Once your new rc.firewall-* is ready, reload the ruleset to make sure things are OK by simply typing in "/etc/rc.d/rc.firewall-*". If you get any errors, you either don't have IPPORTFW support in the kernel or you made a typo in the rc.firewall file.

  • Now, in ICQ's Preferences-->Connection, configure it to be "Behind a LAN" and "Behind a firewall or Proxy". Now, click on "Firewall Settings" and configure it to be "I don't use a SOCK5 proxy". Also note that it was previously recommended to change ICQ's "Firewall session timeouts" to "30" seconds BUT many users have found that ICQ becomes unreliable. It has been found that ICQ is more reliable with its stock timeout setting (don't enable that ICQ option) and simply change MASQ's timeout to 160 seconds. You can see how to change this timeout in Section 3.4.3 and Section 3.4.2 rulesets. Finally, click on Next and configure ICQ to "Use the following TCP listen ports.." from "2000" to "2020". Now click done.

    Now ICQ will tell you that you will have to restart ICQ for the changes to take effect. To be honest, I had to REBOOT the Windows9x machine in order for things to work right but some users might say otherwise. So.. try it both ways.

  • A user once told me that by simply portforwarding port 4000 to his ICQ machine, it worked perfectly. He reported that EVERYTHING worked fine (even chat, file transfers, etc) WITHOUT re-configuring ICQ from its default settings. Your mileage might vary on this topic but I thought you might like to hear about this alternative configuration.

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