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Canada Computes: A Little Security in an Insecure World

Feb 24, 2001, 23:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Steve Coe)

"The program effectively stands guard over your system and logs any attempted intrusions. This includes things like attempted connections, portscans perpetrated by programs which are designed to sniff around to see if you have any "open doors" on your machine, and what that door is. Portsentry, in the event of finding this activity, drops the connection so the system at the other end can't connect again. It's a simple little program but it works exceptionally well and every friend I've pointed to it has thanked me."

"I've had Port Sentry running for over a year now and even on a dialup connection with a dynamically assigned IP address that changes every time I log on, I've had quite a few unauthorized connections to my machine. It's very reassuring to read the portsentry.history file and see all the hits it's logged. The machine at the other end had no avenue into my system, but it's still nice to know it's there. If you have a permanent connection like my friend has, you really need to look at your security. When my friend "went live" for the first time with his dedicated connection he had made sure he had software standing guard. Within minutes it had lit up like a christmas tree."

"While browsing the mighty Freshmeat I also came across a very useful program which spurred me onto my security kick called Firestarter. It's a GNOME program for setting up a firewall on your Linux system, but as always you don't need to run GNOME to use it, you just need the right files installed. It also requires IPCHAINS to be installed on your system, but every system I've ever had has had that installed by default. IPCHAINS is an administration tool for a firewall."

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