What is a Port Scan?
When a hacker is looking for an unprotected, unsecured or vulnerable computer,
they run what is called a port scan on the target system. The automated port
scanner requests a connection to the target computer on anywhere from a handful
of ports to 1000ís.
Often, there are many programs on your
computer that are running and expose themselves to a particular port. These
programs are things you donít even know exist but are ready to perform some
kind of function on your network. In theory, this should be OK but many of
those programs have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by a hacker.
acts as a barrier between someone running a
port scan and those programs. Your computer is fairly safe from attacks
when it is behind a firewall
There are many places on the internet that
will perform a port scan on your computer to see if you have a vulnerability.
These port scans often only scan the most popular firewall
and leave many unchecked. The best thing you can do to protect
yourself from a port scan is to run some kind of software or hardware firewall.
I prefer to use a router firewall
I donít have to worry about whether it's enabled or not Ė a hardware firewall
is ALWAYS on.
Getting a Port Scan
One of the most popular places to get a port
scan is at DSL Reports. The basic port scan is free and you can try it
After you install a firewall, try the above
link for a firewall test
and see what
happens. Dont worry if you cant understand everything.