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Tools: Sites to test personal firewalls for holes

PC World

(IDG) -- If you've spent any time looking into cable modems, DSL, satellite, or some other always-on Internet-access technology, you've probably heard over and over that you need to install and use a personal firewall -- either firmware inside your access device, or software such as Network ICE's BlackICE Defender, Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm, or Symantec's Norton Internet Security.

Although a firewall may be sufficient to keep intruders from accessing your system remotely, how can you be certain? One quick way is to visit a Web site that will test your system and try to find Internet security flaws just as a cracker would.

Visit an IDG site search

Steve Gibson's free Shields Up service at tests common port addresses on your system and issues a report on your hacker vulnerability. Gibson clearly explains complex Internet-security technologies in plain English. And if you have firewall software running on your system, you'll get a report listing all the probes that originated from the Shields Up site.

Shields Up checks only a handful of your system's thousands of possible ports, however. If you are interested in a more thorough probe, give the incredible HackerWhacker service a try.

HackerWhacker offers a higher level of security by scanning your PC's entire range of more than 130,000 possible port addresses. It also examines Windows' NetBIOS networking configuration. HackerWhacker provides a complementary trial scan, but additional scans cost $10 apiece. Alternatively, you can pay $30 for a three-month Home Computer Membership, which gives you unlimited scans. The peace of mind that the service offers is unrivaled.

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Zone Labs releases version of firewall for smaller networks
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Insulate your PC from hackers
August 10, 2000
Getting to the root of network security
July 12, 2000
How personal firewalls work
June 21, 2000
Should you be using distributed firewalls?
June 21, 2000

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Shields Up

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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