Test Your Firewall – You might thank yourself in future!

The ease that the online world has given us pars to nothing in equivalence, however with every advancement comes a price and the price of eased up lives through the technological advancements is the invasion by hackers.

However the good news is that this can be avoided by blinding the hackers from seeing you only by simple activation of a firewall. Furthermore, even if a smart hacker figures out your network type, IP address or the location of your device, the firewall will blindfold the hacker when he/she tries to access your device’s system or network.

This must have got you wondering on how to keep a check on your firewall? The good news for those who have recently purchase Windows and Mac latest version is that they contain already installed firewall softwares for the systematic configuration of one’s internet ports but even then you have to stay careful when you tweak on your firewall settings-one wrong push here, an untimed click there and poof! All protection gone!

If your port settings are incorrect or turned off, it might leave your device vulnerable to multiple port scanners allowing opportunistic hackers to slip past the. Also keep in mind that if your computer has a virus already it may have tweaked with your port settings hence it is prudent to keep an eye on these settings.

Lets talk about what essentially a port is?

The router you are using may have multiple “ports” that forms a bridge for carrying of data between your internet and the network. Port 80 is an example which is used to direct web traffic while port 143 is used for special IMAP mails. Now if any hacker manages to locate an exposed or vulnerable port on your device, they can jump right on. Hence it is essential that you should always make use of an effective firewall to keep your device safe from invasion.

Now how can you figure out if your firewall is doing what it is supposed to do? How about using a free tool for assessment?

There are many services used for testing of the port, few examples are Gibson Research Corporation’s (GRC) ShieldsUP!!, both of which analyzes your firewall and concludes whether your ports are vulnerable or not to the invasions by hackers. If you use ShieldsUP!! and it can view your ports over the internet then high likelihood is that someone else with an effective tool for scanning can also do so.

This free tool is a tool that can be used on the browser to keep a check on your system that may or may not be exposed to hackers who make use of open port scanners for intrusion.

This tool comprises of 6 internet port vulnerability tests that can be run which are:

  • File Sharing port check,
  • Common Port scan,
  • All Service Port scan,
  • Messenger Spam test,
  • Browser Header test,
  • UPnP exposure test)

These test specifically check for the port 139, which is utilized for NetBIOS essentially for the Windows system’s File and Print Sharing protocol. It is imperative that this port always remains closed and doesn’t come under the radar for scanning because if it is left open all your shared files will be available over the entire interne. Many viruses or worms would then never let go of this opportunity for further invasion.

Following are some of the more specific port scanning test that you can use:

1.     Common Port Scan

Common Port Scan test is prominently used for the ports that are vulnerable most often and are in use by various services. These ports include the following, “FTP: 21, SSH: 22, Telnet: 23, HTTP: 80, and HTTPS: 443.” We cannot emphasize the importance of keeping all of these ports as “Stealth” or “Closed” for safety reasons.

2.     Scanning of the first 1056 Standard Service Ports

This Standard Test can be run to check all the ports numbered from 1-1056.

But the question is why only these specifically numbered ports? The ports for the internet are usually numbered from 1 to 65535, however in accordance to GRC, ports 1till 1023 are mainly kept as ports for listening that wait for connections that are incoming and running on the system of the receiver.

GRC has also included 33 extra ports after analyzing the “insecure behavior of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems,” getting the number uptil1056. Once again, unless there is a reason to do all of these ports should be recognized as “Stealth” or “Closed” once scanned.

3.     Windows Messenger Spam Check Port 135

The Port 135 is under the use of “spammers” who are skilled in exploitation of the Windows “Messenger Service” to contaminate the internet service with unwanted and unaccounted emails. They send various text packets to your specific IP address. Windows Messenger Spam Check Port 135 specifically digs through the fact that whether your device is exposed to any such Messenger Spam or not.

4.     Browser Headers Check

Browser Headers Check is another common tool that is used to browse through the kind of data of information that is being over-relayed by your web browser when any web server places any request for any kind of data. This set of data contains items like cookies, the online page with its referral link, the kind and version of the web browser in your use, use of operating systems and a few other things.

5.     UPnP Exposure Test

UPnP is the short form for Universal Plug and Play which is essentially a feature which in its default settings is always enabled in most of the routers that are in use. This lets the network’s home appliances that are compatible with UPnP to find and get in connection with each other without requiring any authentication for the set password.

Although it is a useful feature, UPnP is famously a target of exploitation by multiple hackers who try to intrude your network connection using any remote access. For the protecting of the users, UPnP was designed to be used within the internal network and that it shouldn’t be under general public exposure

6.     Other port tests

Other Port tests include ShieldsUP!! as already mentioned earlier is also famously known as the Custom Port Probe tool that is used for analysis of any of your ports that is selected by you for scanning and also serves as an information tool on ports.

Written by Cybil

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