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Firewall Testing

Once you find out that you can test the security of your computer online, it makes a lot of sense.
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While on the Internet, your computer may have 65,535 "ports" open. If the ports are open, an Internet outlaw's scanner may try to install a bot to make your computer into a zombie (part of a botnet). There are many online test sites. You need to be a bit skeptical about which of them to rely on. As a rule of thumb, do not rely solely on a testing site provided by a company that wants to sell you a personal firewall. Once you install a firewall, testing is needed to make sure that it is serving its intended purpose (closed ports plus...) and that you have configured it correctly.

For background information about online testing services, see Scot's Newsletter Firewall Test Suite and Methodology.

For comprehensive firewall test results, see the Matousec and Test My PC Security websites.

Online Testing Sites

Another Kind of Test

To find out from direct experience why you need a personal firewall, we suggest that you try one. After a few days, use the report function to see how many times your computer has been scanned. Please note that many scans are not dangerous, for example, your cable/dsl Internet service provider may be checking to see that your connection is ok. For firewalls that are free for personal use, see our Security Freeware page. Many vendors offer a free trial of their products, see our Personal Firewall Software Review page for choices and links. Whichever choice you make, check the vendor's website after you install your firewall for updates. The last step is to test the firewall to see how well it works and to make sure that you installed and configured it correctly.