Thanks to my good friend grasshopper, I've been alerted to the existence of a couple of great apps for protecting against on-line hacker attacks and what's become known as Spyware. I'll use this page to keep you informed of updates to these and similar applications. If you know of any other such apps that GWeb users would appreciate, drop me a line and I'll check it out.
Attacks from malicious users on the Internet are rife. What's needed is a firewall-type app that prevents unauthorised access to or from the PC while on-line - ZoneAlarm is such a utility, and it's free for personal use. Tiny Software also offer a more 'advanced' software firewall that's slightly more difficult to use than ZoneAlarm, but allows you to permit and deny access at a much lower level. Personally I found I needed this level of control when I switched from dialup access to ADSL via a router.
Version 2.0 of the Tiny Personal Firewall is also free, but version 3.0 - which offers many more features - will cost you.
It's also worth mentioning that both ZoneAlarm and Tiny Personal Firewall (2.0.7 and later) pass the rigorous tests Steve Gibson comes up with over at the Gibson Research Corporation whenever he discovers a new access threat. Check out the results of Steve's access tests using his IP Agent (grab it below).
|Zone Labs||11.09.03||ZoneAlarm 3.7.211. Use the File link on the left and click 'Download FREE ZoneAlarm'. Zone Labs report you don't need to uninstall any previous version before installing 3.x.||Zone Labs||3,665Kb|
|pf2.exe||22.10.01||Tiny Personal Firewall 2.0.15.||Tiny Software||1,385Kb|
Checking Your Security
If you want to see just how vulnerable your PC is to rogue Internet access, check out Steve Gibson's ShieldsUP tests. Try running the shield and port tests with and without ZoneAlarm's Internet Lock engaged ... you'll be impressed by the both the quality of the tests and the protection ZoneAlarm offers. Steve recommends using his IP Agent to initiate the tests; this will determine your IP address(es) and give you direct access to the GRC ShieldsUP pages. Download it below.
Also available from GRC is a utility that will test whether your firewall is 'leaky' or not, LeakTest. You need to understand how to use it before you try the tests, so be sure to check out the Info link below before running LeakTest.
|LeakTest.exe||unknown||GRC's LeakTest 1.1. Download, move to a folder of your choice and simply run it (no installation required).||GRC||25Kb|
|IP_Agent.exe||unknown||GRC's IP Agent 1.0. Download, move to a folder of your choice and simply run it (no installation required).||GRC||17Kb|
Web filters are a great way to get rid of the banners, ads and popups that plague browsing these days. The Proxomitron, below, is my personal favourite, and works by applying HTML filters on the fly. While there's a huge number of configurable options, I've found that the default settings are perfectly adequate. If you find a web feature that doesn't work while Proxomitron is running, just Bypass it (using the system tray icon) and refresh the page. Alternatively, you could work out which feature it is you're trying to use and configure Proxomitron accordingly.
|ProxN45j.exe||09.06.03||Proxomitron Universal Web Filter version Naoko-4.5 (with installer). Run the downloaded file to install. If this is your first time with Proxomitron, you'll need to set up your browser to use it, as described here. If you're upgrading, you should back up any customised config files before upgrading.||Proxomitron||1,380Kb|
Spyware is the term that's been coined for software which uses your Internet connection without your knowledge or permission. This software can be used to transmit or receive information to or from your PC while you're on-line. This is a real threat - the first time I used the preview release of OptOut it found no fewer than 24 instances of Aureate Spyware on my PC, even though I use virus scanners all the time and am very careful about the software I download and use. Spyware can also be responsible for operating system and browser crashes...
OptOut was a great little app from the Gibson Research Corporation, who specialise in writing Win32 software using assembly language ... no mean feat. OptOut is now defunct, but the author is in the process of developing a new Internet security and privacy utility, the GRC NetFilter.
Until NetFilter is ready, check out the excellent Lavasoft Ad-aware spyware removal utility.
|LavaSoft||08.02.03||Lavasoft Ad-aware 6. Click the Download link in the page to get hold of the Standard Edition (which is stil free for non-commercial use).||LavaSoft||1,505Kb|