Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Test Your Firewall (No thinking involved)

Test Your Firewall

This site will test whether or not a hacker or virus can get to your computer by simply having your computer connected to the internet. It's a free and very simple procedure (one click), and it provides very understandable explainations to whatever it finds.

There is no thinking involved - so test your darn computer already.

There are 2 tests you can run, "Simple Probe" and "Port Scan". Each can take up to 5 minutes and will present you a simple report when finished.

If it finds a vulnerability, you need a firewall. If you are running Windows XP, you have a firewall built in but it probably isn't enabled. Otherwise I would recommend that you use ZoneAlarm. There is a free version available for non-commercial use.

Note: Setting up ZoneAlarm is very easy. However, it's job is to watch incoming and outgoing internet traffic and block suspicious/bad activity. The first couple of days of using ZoneAlarm (or other) can be a bit frustrating to non-geeks, as it will ask you if a certain program should or should not be accessing the internet. It isn't difficult - you just need to pay attention to what the program is telling you.

Additional Note:
If you install a firewall such as ZoneAlarm, and it constantly prompts you about oddly named programs accessing the internet, you should do a Google search on the name of the program. You can usually tell from the first 10 results whether or not the program is good or bad. If it is a virus or other bad program, you know you need to clean up your computer.

Computer clean up and firewall tips can be found in a little newsletter I posted a couple months ago. In it you will find links to ZoneAlarm and other free cleanup software.


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