Tools: Sites to test personal firewalls for holes
(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.
Steve Gibson's free Shields Up service at shieldsup.grc.com 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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