To keep your PC (and your data) secure, it's obviously vital that you use antivirus software. After all, we've all heard reports about malware that can open up your PC to hackers and allow them remote access.
But how can you check that this hasn't happened? How can you be certain that someone who tried to connect remotely to your PC over the internet wouldn't find an open door waiting for him?
If you haven't tried out the Shields Up service, from Gibson Research's web site, give it a try. It does just that. It attempts to "hack" your PC, by remotely connecting to your computer over a number of internet communication channels (known as ports). Unless there's a good reason not to, your router's firewall should be configured to block incoming connections to these ports, and the Shields Up scan will verify that this is the case.
To start, head to http://www.grc.com/intro.htm and, from the Services menu, choose Shields Up. Then click on the Proceed button.
If you know what you're doing, choose a service or port to scan. If you don't, clicking on the Common Ports button is probably the best place to start. Ideally, the results should show that all ports scanned were uncontactable.
Note: Don't try this service from your work computer without seeking permission from your system manager first. The sudden batch of attempted incoming connections from the remote server may trigger your company's automatic intrusion detection system and cause undue alarm.
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