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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Let's put your firewall to the test


    By Fred Langa

    Most PC users take it on wary faith that their firewalls are providing full protection from malicious applications.

    A better policy is to use firewall testing services and free applications to ensure your firewall is correctly set.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/03/11/05 (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
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Here's another combination security and network analysis tool:

    Please note: Netalyzr is not only a debugging tool — it is also the foundation of a comprehensive measurement study compiling a survey of the health of the Internet's edge. By running Netalyzr and helping us spread the word you are contributing crucially to the quality of our study. Thanks for your help!

    http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu/index.html

  3. #3
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    Regarding a 'Cancel' option to the shutdown command, I had seen the same problem and had created three shortcuts. One for the shutdown, one for a reboot and the third for canceling either of the other two. Then, somewhere I saw a reference to the excellent SysInternals utilities (which I use several of) and the fact that Mark Russinovich's psShutdown utility does include a 'Cancel' button !! Definitely a great replacement !!

    psShutdown.exe

    Mr. Jiggs
    mr.Jiggs

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    If you use Windows Explorer in either XP or Vista, you can change the file settings by clicking on "Tools" on the menu bar, then selecting "Folder Options". Here you can modify how the files are listed (turn on file extensions, show system files etc.). In Win 7, you can do the same thing by first opening Control Panel, then choosing the Tools/Folder Options from the menu bar. *I* personally like the classic view in Control Panel in Windows XP and Vista, but that's not available to my knowledge in Win 7. What I've done in lieu of that view is to change the view to large icons, which is a good emulation of the classic view.

    Best regards,
    Phil Heberer

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Fred, I discovered this trick under XP but haven't tried it with Vista nor 7, but here goes. The upshot of this is, most of the files I deal with are the ones last created; older files tend to become archival docs quickly. (Because I work in a data acquisition work environment where hundreds of documents are created daily into large folders this trick has been a Godsend to me. Literally.)

    1. Open a folder and change it to "Details" view. Click the "Date Modified" column until entries are reverse-sorted chronologically. I usually reorder and resize the columns while I am doing this.
    2. Using "Folder Options" apply this setting to all folders.

    Here's the real beauty of this: when I open any "File Open" dialogue box, in any application, the files are listed in reverse chronological order -- and this is without going into "Details" view. By extension I am sure this works for any other global sort applied to all folders, be it date, size, or what have you.

    I have not seen this trick documented elsewhere, but it sure has saved me a ton of seconds.

    Thanks, and regards,
    Tom

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Fred, your list is right on. I do this on all my computers. Now that we're setting up virtual machines, I have to do it too many times. Is there a VBS script that sets these parameters?

    Thanks for all your great articles,
    Paul

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    For testing the firewall there are some more sites that may be of interest; first Test My PC Security at http://www.testmypcsecurity.com/ Another site that has plenty of tests for firewalls and more is Audit My PC at http://www.auditmypc.com/ This later site also links to various security related programs and content to help you secure your computer if you find a problem. Another security scan that might be of interest is from GFI EndPointScan at http://www.gfi.com/endpointscan/ However this is not specifically for finding firewall leaks; and is more geared towards administrators of networks. Still in the battle against malware we need all the tools we can find.

    And for those of you wanting to do testing on your own local machine without using a web based test check out Matousec at http://www.matousec.com/ and specifically their Proactive Security Challenge as they are constantly testing different security products and updating their tests used to help you find the best security software available. This site will do testing also for a fee for security software companies and as such some question the validity but overall I think it is a great reference to use in keeping your computer free and all malware. Their testing software suite is also available for download to use on your machine; just be careful as the results may cause crashes.

    Leland

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Re: Let's put your firewall to the test

    Fred, some users may get ‘worried’ when they use the fantastic online Shields Up firewall testing utility that you mention in your article.

    For many years I have set up my client's PCs with 3rd party firewall software (too many confusing pop-ups for the average user) and now
    gone back to basics, configuring their PCs with Microsoft’s own basic firewall.

    Naturally, now outbound traffic is not monitored and the leak test(s) will fail. Also, when using the XP’s (and later) firewall, one will not get a
    perfect ‘TruStealth’ rating - at best, the test will show a combination of Stealth and Closed ports.

    Optimising the firewall settings within the modem and/or router (if capable) is the only way to get TruStealth (for incoming traffic).

    What is your spin on this and how important is outbound traffic monitoring?

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