How to Test Your Antivirus, Firewall, Browser and Software Security
Once you have set up all of your security systems on your computer and have antivirus preventing malicious attack, a firewall blocking unauthorized access, and your browser is safe with up to date plug ins you may think that you are ready to go, and have no gaps in your computer defenses. However, you can’t be sure that your defenses are actually working unless you test them. Thankfully there are tools that can be easily used to determine how secure your PC is. Read on to find out more.
- EICAR test file
It is not a good idea to download a virus to test your antiviral software. Instead you can use the EICAR test file which is a computer file that was developed to test the response of a computer antivirus program. Thankfully the test file is safe and all antivirus programs have been programmed to recognize the EICAR file as a virus. What is more, they have been trained to respond to it just as they would respond to an actual virus. Therefore by installing the file, and assessing whether your computer can respond and clear it, you can determine how effective the antivirus software is.
- Port Scan Your Firewall
Routers have a network address translation feature that prevents other computers that are online from connecting to your computer and therefore effectively acts as a firewall. To test whether your computer and its software is safe and shielded from the internet and users, you can use a test website such as the ShieldsUP! Test website. Such sites conduct port scans of your computers IP address and this test will show you if there are any open ports which could put you and your computer at risk of attack.
- Check Browser Plug-ins
Browser plug-ins are a common feature on our computers, but they are also one of the most likely methods of malicious attack if they are outdates. Software such as Flash and Java can be used by hackers to access our sensitive information. In order to prevent attack, and stay safe online it is essential that your computers browser plug-ins are as up to date as possible as this will ensure that they are secure.
- Scan For Vulnerable Software
If your computer has an operating system with a central software manager it is easy to determine how up to date your applications are, and therefore how secure they are. However, if you have a Windows desktop or a computer without such a central software manager then you need to scan for vulnerable software manually, or with an application to help you out. There are free software packages that can scan the software installed on a computer and identify software that could be potentially dangerous, enabling you to remove that software or update it.