| 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.
Get free testing with online services
Brian Brooks wants to make sure his firewall/router is doing its job.
- “The other day, while using my Netgear DG834 modem/router, I was wondering whether there are any good tools that can safely test a firewall setup from the outside. I vaguely remember years ago reading about tools that will check ports, etc. I would really find it useful if you’d recommend a few basic checks.”
A PC’s Internet “ports” are numeric addresses that online sites use to communicate with your PC. Shields Up rapidly and safely checks your ports and reports on the status of each one as follows:
- Open — available for use by anyone on the Internet (and potentially, a hacker’s doorway to your PC)
- Closed — unavailable to outsiders but still visible to anyone searching for open ports on the Internet (inviting further attacks from hackers)
- Stealth — closed and completely invisible to outsiders
It’s smart to use more than one port probe. While one test might miss something, it’s much less likely that two independent tests will.
After testing a firewall from the outside, test it from the inside with leak tests. Mimicking malware, these tests safely and harmlessly try to phone home to a test site. Properly configured firewalls will warn you when an app tries to contact an online site, giving you the option to cut the link.