Comodo - http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com How many times have you experienced downtime on your computer because it had been taken over by popups and spyware? Have you ever been in the unfortunate position of your computer being taken over in a botnet? Does identity theft scare you? It should. Comodo provides a free tool to help improve your feeling of security. It provides protection from Trojans, hackers and a variety of security threats. Unfortunately, it only works on Windows 2000 and later, but Mac and Linux users already have other free tools built in to the system to protect themselves. Windows users need to pick of the slack left behind by Microsoft’s lack of security consciousness. ClamAV – I am loathe to say it, but no computer should be without virus scanning. There may be a lack of virus threats on Mac and Linux, but it is only good etiquette that they protect the Windows users they correspond with from viruses that could be forwarded on from other Windows users.
Mac OSX – http://www.clamxav.com
Linux – http://www.clamav.net
Windows – http://www.clamwin.com
Cain & Abel – http://www.oxid.it Here we start getting into products that could be questionable on some networks. In fact, both McAfee and Symantec detect this free product as a “Potentially Unwanted Program” and deletes it automatically. Ironically, Symantec sells a product with similar functionality called LC5 (lOphtCrack 5) that performs many of the same tasks but is not detected as malware. When a vendor starts detecting and removing competing products without checking with the user, it is time to save some money and move to a different vendor. Cain & Abel gives you the ability to audit users and resources on your network. Do you have a teenager that has set a password on their login to prevent you as a parent from seeing what they have been doing? Cain & Abel provides an easy to use mechanism for cracking that password without your teenager’s knowledge. But it is not just a windows password cracker. It allows you to capture passwords for websites and email so that you can proactively monitor your child’s Internet use.
Untangle – http://www.untangle.com Since my last write-up on this product, version 5.0.1 has been released. According to their wiki, there is not upgrade path to this latest version as of yet. But if you have a spare unused computer sitting around, this software will give you all of the benefits of a business class IT security solution. From spam filtering, to phishing blocker, to firewall to web use monitoring, this software gives you the ability to both protect your network from intrusions and monitor all traffic on your network. For the home user, you can review the sites visited by your family and control access to types of information viewed. You can use it to either monitor activity or actively block access to pornography or other undesirable Internet content. For the business user, this one software package reduces the number of servers that you need to use to protect your network and control undesirable activity on your network. The primary business class network that I monitor received over 3000 spam messages per day. On weekends, this jumps to 10,000 spam. This equates to 92% of all email being spam that users must filter through and delete on a daily basis. Of course, for businesses, I highly recommend the purchase of the support subscription. This allows you to integrate the device into your existing Active Directory infrastructure, provide remote access and receive immediate support for issues. Nessus – http://www.nessus.org Nessus is one of the primary tools in my security arsenal. It contains definitions of the latest security vulnerabilities (the same attacks that hackers would launch against you to gain access to your network) so that you can test your network security and locate deficiencies. By using this software, you can better target your security efforts.