Internet security is always a hot topic, with the increasing numbers of users as well as the increasing number of always on DSL and Cable connections Internet Security is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously. Enter Steve Gibson, Steve is well known in tech circles as the maker of the hard disk utility SpinRite. But Steve hasn’t been sitting on his laurels – instead he has done a great service to all Internet users with the creation of his Shield’s Up website.
Shield’s Up is located on Steve’s home site: http://www.GRC.com and Shield’s Up is dedicated to Internet Security. One of the first things you see when you enter Shield’s Up are two buttons: Test My Shield’s and Probe My Ports!. And this is the main reason people come to this site but there is much more here than these tests.
First let’s examine Test My Shield’s! and Probe My Ports!. Test My Shield’s tests your computer for two big security holes. Port 139 and your NetBIOS. This is of major concern to Windows users since these holes are usually open by default! This test will let you know if these holes are open or if they are closed. Next is Probe My Ports! Here it tries to probe several well know and easily exploited ports. It probes FTP, HTTP, Finger, Telnet, as well as 6 other well know ports. Then it tells you if the ports were Open, Closed, or in Stealth mode (the best of the best). The page has more in depth information on what these mean.
The main Shield’s Up site has some great information on it. You just have to look for it. He explains what some of the vulnerabilities of Windows are as well as why they exist. Another section explains the dangers that Internet users face as well as how easy it is to get a hold of port scanning software and how easy they are to use. In the nest section he explains how you can protect yourself and some options that are available to you.
The next section of the site is called Network Bondage. And this section contains a lot of good information. Here Steve gives a great overview of how computer networks function and how it affects you the Internet user. Then comes the good part for, Steve shows you how to close off these holes for Windows 9x and NT users. For the 9x user he shows how to effectively use NetBEUI and how to use Bindings to close those Internet holes with just a little work. For NT users he shows you how to correctly use NetBEUI , and tells you if you should, as well as how to install and setup the MS Loopback Adapter as well as how to set up the correct Bindings to close down these security holes. Steve had created a couple of utilities that took care of this for you but he recommends that you do not use these anymore and take of the problem the way he explains. These utilities are NoShare and LetShare (which cancels what NoShare did). They can still be found on the site in the FAQ section but Steve only recommends these to those using early versions of Windows 95 in which his Network Bondage solutions do not work.
There is also a review of several of the major firewalls out there. He reviews products from ConSeal (both PC Firewall and Private Desktop), SyShield, Norton Internet Security 2000 (the old AtGuard), Black Ice Defender, as well as some info on the new free Zone Alarm. Steve goes into some detail about the pros and cons of each of these firewall solutions.
Shield’s Up does what an internet site should do. It gives you some very important information that can be understood by just about anyone who uses a computer. While much of the information in the site is directed to Windows users, it still has a lot of stuff that will be of interest to users of any computer platform and the scans are useful no matter what kind of system you are running.
Do yourself a favor and head over to Shield’s Up right now and do a scan on your system. Find out how safe you are and if you are a Windows user follow the instructions he gives you on making your system more secure. There is a message board on the site as well and Steve is very active in it, which shows you how concerned he is with his site and with Internet security in general.
This is perhaps one of the few sites that I recommend without hesitation. Computer security is essential and Shield’s Up can help make that happen!
Submitted by: Zenwolf