Security 101: July 2012

As previously announced, we continue to answer questions received from the readers of the PC.COM magazine.


How to scan or check (open/close) port activity on computer for illegal access/activity?

A port scan is a form of network attack that sends special packets to all or a range of ports on a host with the goal of finding the active ports on that host. Usually, the detection of open ports is associated with the exploiting of known vulnerabilities of applications that usually listen on those ports.

A port scan is defined by the amount of ports probed in a certain amount of time. A good and reliable default value for this metric is 50 ports in 5 seconds.

In order to check the ports activity, one needs a personal firewall installed on the computer. A personal firewall can be usually found in all Internet Security suites available.

For example, using the firewall in the Avira Internet Security, it is possible to detect and automatically block port scans and flooding. For the savvy users it is even possible to allow changing the parameters which define a port scan. Once the port scanning is detected, the IP address which sent the packets can be blocked for a certain period of time.

One thing needs to be mentioned in regard to internet access control : ports scanning is about incoming traffic (from the Internet to the local host).

It is not recommended to monitor outgoing activities (from the local host to the Internet) because this will create a huge overhead for the host.


What’s the most effective way to monitor our kids’ web use?

Monitoring kids can be challenging in today’s day and age with kids nowadays being so tech-savvy. It might be pretty difficult for parents to keep up that the most important and logical way to keep kids safe on the net is to educate them and make them aware of the dangers. And, fortunately there are tools available to help them. You can monitor your child’s usage using a web filter (such as the one in the Avira products) or a web proxy installed on the gateway.

If you want to monitor the activity of a child on a certain website in particular, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and so on, then you need a dedicated solution. Avira has a free tool called Social Shield which allows you to monitor the activity of the children on various social media accounts.

For more details, check this blog article:  Monitor your children on social media websites




Sorin Mustaca

Data Security Expert