Once you have established a connection to the
Internet, you have effectively marked your computer or network
as a target. This is precisely why we have recommended the steps
set forth in the two previous articles, 'Where
do I start?
' and 'Going
'. These precautions are not born out of excess paranoia;
they are a matter of fact
Without your knowledge, you may be a victim or an unwilling
accomplice in some form of cyber assault. The following steps
are intended to test your system against such a possibility.
Remember, nothing is absolute, the problems are complex and
we are just touching upon the minimum
every PC user should
routinely follow or have in place.
(NOTE: If you are a business user, your security
concerns require a much higher level of review; please contact
RSS Technologies for a Vulnerability Assessment
First Things First
Now that you have updated your Windows software, activated an antivirus
program and firewall solution, it is time to test your system for
some common areas of threat. There are a number of sites which offer
various online diagnostic tools. We have chosen three sites we trust
and have consistently provided dependable results.
- PC Pitstop
- The advantage of PC
Pitstop is the capability to 'benchmark' your computer against
a large database of visitors, record your results and compare
that performance record against a newer test in the future.
also checks for some common security risks in Internet Explorer,
Active X and Outlook Express. The site also has an on-line Anti-Virus
scanner as well as other performance tools. Good site for information.
- Gibson Research
Corporation - This site offers a great deal of information,
freeware and tools. For our purposes, we are interested in the
Up portion of the site. Navigate to the Shields
Up page and from the menu run the File Sharing -
Common Ports - All Service Ports - Messenger
Spam tests. Ideally, all tested ports should be found to
be in a STEALTH state. If any ports are found to be OPEN
then your firewall solution is not working properly or may not
be appropriately configured. Make note of the results and correct
any problems found.
Micro Housecall - Though you have equipped your PC with
Anti-Virus software, no single program should be considered
as absolute. It is a good practice to use a secondary virus
check on a regular basis. We recommend Trend
Micro Housecall, a free online virus scan. You can
also access the scanner from our site here.
Important! To avoid conflicts, please temporarily disable
any active background virus checking software before scanning
so as not to cause conflict or return erroneous results. (Consult
your Anti-Virus programs documentation for the proper procedure
to turn off active background or real-time testing. After the
scan is completed, remember to re-enable your software.)
If you have any questions that need immediate resolution,
please feel free to contact us via email
or use our online form