Hardening against Port Scanning

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Port Scanning is the act of systematically scanning a computer’s ports. Since a port is a place where information goes into and out of a computer, port scanning identifies open doors to a computer. Port scanning has legitimate uses in managing networks, but port scanning also can be malicious in nature if someone is looking for a weakened access point to break into your computer. There are 65,535 ports in TCP, so keeping them secure is an effort in itself. Port scanning in itself is not a crime. There is no way to stop someone from port scanning your computer while you are on the Internet because accessing an Internet server opens a port, which opens a door to your computer. There are, however, software products that can stop a port scanner from doing any damage to your system. To protect yourself from port scanning, the easiest way would be to turn all of your unused services off. There are many applications that are offered on the market to help protect you from these types of issues, but the easiest and more manageable way is to turn off all your unused services. For example, in a Windows XP platform you would click on start, then run, type “services.msc” without the quotes, and click ok. After that a list of services will appear. Choose diligently which services to disable and when completed you would have hardened your system against port scanning.

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