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Firewall Tests

Friday, June 1st, 2007 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Q:
I sometimes worry that my firewall isn’t doing all that it should. Do you know of any way I can test it to make sure the wrong things aren’t getting through? Please help!

A:
This is an excellent question! Plus, it’s a very good sign that you’re even wondering about this. That means you really care about your computer and what happens to it on a day to day basis. A firewall is one of the most important parts of our computers. It is our main gateway to the Internet and it helps connect us to everything we need as we go about our business. A firewall monitors the programs we use, keeping us safe from any internal harm.

Firewalls are even more important today, as we are being exposed to more and more threats, viruses, spyware, software vulnerabilities, etc. every day. A computer’s firewall is the first line of defense when it comes to stopping all of those things from wreaking havoc on our computers. So, with all of that said, it’s very important to keep a close eye on your firewall. And as the person who asked this question stated, yes, there are some ways you can test your firewall to make sure everything is still running properly. Keep reading to learn about a few of these options!

Security researchers have developed what are called leak testers that you can use to test the different capabilities of your firewall. Basically, if the test is able to get through your computer’s security setup, a hacker will be able to as well. Now, there are several different leak testers you can try and each of them test a different part of the firewall. The following list is just a few of them any home or advanced user can use. (Note: This list was compiled by security-hacks.com). Let’s check them out!

1.) PCFlank Leaktest: This particular utility tests a firewall’s ability to protect your computer from any unauthorized or illegal data transmissions when you’re connected to the Internet. Basically, it acts like another program that your firewall has been taught to trust to see what will happen. This is a good test for any programs you use while online. If you’re interested in using PCFlank Leaktest, you can download it right now, right here.

2.) Breakout: This one is a little more complicated, but it’s still a very good leak test. Breakout is basically used with Internet Explorer and Firefox. It sends a URL to either of the browser’s (whichever you use) address bar and tells it to launch by using the “Send Message” Windows API feature. No code is used during this process, which makes it hard for a firewall to detect anything. If the test goes through successfully, that means your firewall is not set up to check for the messages sent to your application windows. If you want to try Breakout for yourself, you can download it from this link for IE or this link for Firefox.

3.) MBTest: MBTest works by sending data packets directly to your network interface to try and pass over the firewall. The packets are all different sizes, protocols and types. If this test goes through successfully, it means your firewall only tests the high level networks and not the low levels, which it should. You can download MBTest here. (Yes, the first part of that page is in another language, but just click on the link that says “MBTest.exe” to get started).

4.) Atelier Web Firewall Tester: This particular one actually checks your personal firewall with six different tests. Each one uses a different technique to try and gain access to the world outside of your firewall. If your firewall is able to score at least 10 points total, it’s doing a fine job. Download this leak test for yourself right here.

5.) ZABypass: This test was actually designed to work with the ZoneAlarm firewall, but it works with many others today. ZABypass uses a technique called Direct Data Exchange to transfer data between Internet Explorer and the Internet. It then checks your firewall from there. Give it a try for yourself by downloading it from this link.

6.) FireHole: This leak test works by launching your default browser, inserting its own DLL into it and then trying to establish an Internet connection. You can download FireHole right here.

7.) Thermite: This is the last one in the list and it works by creating an additional malicious thread into a process you’re trying to do. It then injects its code into that process directly. If the test goes through successfully, your firewall is vulnerable to process injection. Download Thermite for yourself by clicking right here. (And yes, you’ll notice a different language on this one as well, but the download will be fine).

There you have it. Seven of the best leak tests available today. Depending on what you want to check within your firewall, one of these is sure to help you out. They are all free downloads, so you don’t have to worry about paying any fees just to get the job done. Again, leak tests are just there for you to test different possible flaws in your firewall. With all the different kinds of threats looming around the Internet today, it’s nice to know there’s a quick test you can use to make sure yours is running properly and giving you adequate protection. Hope you find what you’re looking for!

~ Erin

P.S. – I want to thank one of our message board members, Pelican56, for the hint on this tip!

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