Where is your computer connecting to?

What is your computer doing on the internet without your knowledge?

Does it ever seem like your computer is working, even when you’re not telling it to do anything? Have you ever wondered if there is someone else accessing your computer, or if your computer is transferring information over the internet without your knowledge? If you’ve never checked, it’s probably doing a lot of things–some of them not good! Viruses may be working, hackers could be connecting to your computer, and “legitimate” programs may be transferring information about you that you didn’t authorize.

How do I find out what programs are running secretly on my computer?

Here’s a quick and easy way to open a window onto what your computer is doing over the internet:

* For Windows download and install TCPView
* For Macosx, go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal and run “lsof -i”
* For Linux, you can also install lsof and run “lsof -i”

If you run one of those programs right now, you may see 50 activities or more in a long list. That’s a lot of communication going on between you and your computer without your knowing about it, isn’t it!

One item in the list you will see is a connection from your computer, to TCP port 80 of privasectech.com ( which is where this website is currently being hosted.

If you see the word “LISTEN”, that means it’s a program waiting for people on the internet to connect to it. Are you sure you want these programs running even when you didn’t tell them to?

How do I learn about what these unknown programs are doing?

The list you’re seeing shows the applications on your computer that are using the internet right now. The list also shows the “Remote Address”, which is where your computer is connecting to. If the remote address is an internet address (IP), you can find out where or what that address is if you resolve the DNS.

Next week, I’ll show you how to identify exactly what all those programs are, and how to stop, remove or gain control of them.

If you want this done for your organization in an automated fashion, with reporting as part of an internal audit, this is a service that PrivaSecTech.com provides.