You shouldn’t just implement security solutions and leave them alone. You should periodically test your network’s integrity. One option you have at your disposal is using security auditors or scanners. Even though you think you have everything configured right, you might miss a step; leave an Internet port open for hackers, forget to change your router’s password, or miss a security patch for Windows. These scanners can help identify security risks and loopholes like these. Here are several free online services you can use:
Pure Networks Security Scan – Checks potential security concerns involving your PC, router, and wireless network. Each concern, whether flagged or not, is discussed in detail. You can optionally send the report to an email address. This one is great if you don’t have network and Wi-Fi security expertise.
ShieldsUP!! – Specializes in evaluating your computer’s incoming security threats. You’re presented with several online tools that can probe your ports and Web browser. You’re given details and explanations on the threats and results. This scanner is great for everyone, however, it’s a must have for those who’ve messed with the firewall settings of their computer or network.
Firewall Test from Audit My PC – Offers basic test which scans for commonly opened ports and an advanced test where you can specify port ranges to check.
FreeScan by Qualys – Requires signup of their free trial, however provides more than just the traditional port scanning. Security vulnerabilities are also found by examining security holes in the operating system, in addition to just plain open ports. Any issues found are thoroughly explained.
Eric Geier is an author of many wireless networking and computing books including Home Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You Need to Know about Upgrading to Windows Vista (Que 2007).