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  1. #1
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    BEST SOFTWARE

    What — or who — is using your connection?


    By Ian "Gizmo" Richards

    Unexpected disk and processor activity on your PC is worrisome, but unexplained Internet activity is more troubling.

    When a PC suddenly starts uploading or downloading data from the Internet, a bit of paranoia is perfectly reasonable — possibly your system is infected with a virus or other malware. In this report, I'll give you some tips and tools for diagnosing unexplained Internet traffic.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/03/04/06 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.


    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-20 at 15:00.

  2. #2
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    HI, I have a program that limits Vista Firewall and stops Outgoing calls without authorisation. Unfortunately I have had it for a while and can't remember it's name. I might have got it from Windows Secrets or Gizmo's page. love Malcolm

  3. #3
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Mr Gizmo approves of NetMeter for monitoring network traffic - so did I, until I found NetWorx, which I find to be less prone to crashes and loss of the data-so-far file, can be set to ignore all local LAN traffic, and has a nice transparent feature for the traffic graph, which fades if you need to click something behind it.

    On the other hand, Netmeter is being abandoned by its author because of insufficient time and apparently unsolvable problems, so its future depends on someone taking it on as an open source project.
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I use Sysinternal's Tcpview to check network traffic.
    It's free and it doesn't require an installation.
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  5. #5
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    Network Traffic Monitor, shareware available from www.nicocuppen.com, not only shows how much network traffic is taking place, but it even shows what processes in your machine cause that traffic!
    For each process it can show detailed information, including the path to the process executable, the remote IP address the process is connected to, and the WHOIS information of that IP address.

    Nico Cuppen

  6. #6
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    Is there a gadget that would inform me who and when something tries to connect to my wireless connection? I have a combination modem / router (ADSL), my 3 computers are hard wired and I have modem lights that indicate when that computer is turned on.

    My wireless (for my notebook and Wii) has a light to show activity. Every once in a while I notice a flicker (for a few seconds) of wireless activity. Is someone trying to log in... piggyback off my connection.. or trying to hack into my systems. Ideally I would like a program on my main computer that would pop up when activity on the wireless connection is encountered..

    Thanks for any thoughts

    Ralph

  7. #7
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    NetLimiter comes in both free (including for commercial use) and paid versions.
    The free version does exactly what this article is about: identify what processes are using the internet. Simple and effective and FREE!
    http://www.netlimiter.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Fraser View Post
    NetLimiter comes in both free (including for commercial use) and paid versions.
    The free version does exactly what this article is about: identify what processes are using the internet. Simple and effective and FREE!
    http://www.netlimiter.com
    Thanks Bruce..
    I know... processes on my computer (s) that are using the internet. What I was hoping for was something that monitored events that do not.. originate on my computer, something that tells me when my wireless is being accessed.. from the other side.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    Mr Gizmo approves of NetMeter for monitoring network traffic - so did I, until I found NetWorx, which I find to be less prone to crashes and loss of the data-so-far file, can be set to ignore all local LAN traffic, and has a nice transparent feature for the traffic graph, which fades if you need to click something behind it.
    I second NetWorx. For those of us on metered Internet connections (satellite, in my case, but also cell phone) NetWorx can be run on all computers on the LAN and add combined Internet usage. The on screen meter shows upload and download speeds making Internet traffic very apparent.

  10. #10
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    I noticed that NetMeter you mentioned is an old version that appears to have not been updated in some time. When I checked the author's site he even said he found problems with it on Windows Vista. I assume the same problems would exist if using it on Windows 7.

    For those who have read Gizmo's artciles for some time he has talked about NetLimiter Monitor (free version) in the past. It is indeed a good peice of software though I doubt version 2 supports Win7/Vista. They are working on version 3 which will support both but I do not know if a free version will continue to be available or not (with version 3 that is).

    Also, you should check out BitMeter II at http://codebox.org.uk/controller?page=bitmeter2 and also it's newer sibling BitMeterOS at http://codebox.org.uk/bitmeterOs The newer version is has support for multiple operating systems and will be quite interesting to those of us who like to dabble with other operating systems. I know the OS version supports Win7/Vista/XP. However II only says it requires the .NET framework 1.1 or later installed. I suspect it to would work on the newer OS's but don't have time to test it right now.

    I will also concur NetWorx is another useful tool for monitoring the network also.

    Leland

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph V View Post
    Thanks Bruce..
    I know... processes on my computer (s) that are using the internet. What I was hoping for was something that monitored events that do not.. originate on my computer, something that tells me when my wireless is being accessed.. from the other side.
    Most software firewalls will do what you are thinking of. There are Online Armor http://www.tallemu.com (currently supports x86 with x64 support in beta testing now), Comodo (now only available as part of their suite though you can pick and chose which components you want) http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/free-download.html (support for x86 and x64 computers), and many more. There are much more powerful than firewalls of the past so you will need some time to tinker with it and learn. I can tell you the Online Armor team is a friendly bunch (I am a tester of it) and has a great forum where you can get questions answered. If setup right it will not only alert you but give you the opportunity to block the requests. I have also tried Comodo and it works fine to though I found OA easier to use on a daily basis.

    Leland

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