Free Security Check for Your Computer

Steve GibsonTHINK YOUR COMPUTER IS SAFE from hackers, trojans, worms, and other dangers while you are online?

Might be. And then again it might not.

Here’s a great, easy, free way to find out. Go to Steve Gibson’s Gibson Research Center (that’s him in the pic) and use their probe called ShieldsUP! ShieldsUP! is a remote port scanner, that has arguably taken the lead to become the Net’s most authoritative and reliable Internet port vulnerability scanning facility.

GRC says that 70% of Windows systems are not safe online, yet there are lots of people online – with no firewall, virus, or spyware protection – who feel that they are completely safe!

For this check, there is nothing to download, although they have lots of other excellent, free, downloadable programs on the site.

The first thing the program will do is analyze the security of your computer’s machine name, and explain to you what it’s all about. Click the PROCEED button, and you will be taken the vulnerability tests.

1. The first check is File Sharing. My computer is in total Stealth Mode!

2. Next is Common Ports. My computer failed! Port 113 responded to a ping. Each port has a link next to it that goes to a description of the port, plus lots of background information on the port. It seems that this port is outdated, and can be shut off, but a very few moldy old Unix servers still might need to connect using it, so it’s still there. They go on to explain that you can usually safely shut it down, and you will notice if you have any problem connecting to, say, your mail server or an IRC. In that case, you would need to re-open the port.

They also say that Zone Alarm’s firewall has a very unique way of handling this particular port, and that it is the ONLY firewall that does this. It’s called “Adaptive Stealthing”. I personally would never go on the Internet without Zone Alarm! There is a free version, firewall only, and a paid version, which includes anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware – a total security suite. (Use that link for $10 off!). I use the free version, and it is absolutely the best!

3. Next is All Service Ports. It examines the first 1056 ports of your computer. Takes about 1 minute, a little more during high traffic times. I failed again! All my ports are in Stealth Mode, except for port 113.

Again, they devote quite a bit of explanation to how Zone Alarm protects this open port, and how they are hopeful that other firewall programs will eventually incorporate this feature.

4. Next check is for Windows Messenger spam. Mine is not turned on, so I don’t know if the program was able to spam me or not.

5. The last check is of your Browser’s Headers. You might be surprised at the amount of information that is available about you in your browser’s header.

Spend some time on this site. Lots of interesting info, things to know. For instance, did you know that the latest version of ICQ has a mini-server built into it that will open Port 80 on your machine? (The site also tells you what to do to prevent this.) Be sure to check the ShieldsUP! forum FAQs. Massive amounts of info there.

Visit the BookstoreKeep your computer safe. And be safe on the internet!

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