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 1000�s.

Often, there are many programs on your computer that are running and expose themselves to a particular port. These programs are things you don�t 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. Firewall protection  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 ports 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  because I don�t have to worry about whether it's enabled or not � 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 here:
After you install a firewall, try the above link for a firewall test and see what happens.  Dont worry if you cant understand everything.



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