Happy Memorial Day! Holidays mean having extra time, and towards that end for me it meant I took a 45 mile bike ride on a Monday morning. This afternoon has been dedicated to computer clean-up and maintenance. Aside from generating a new pristine hard disk back-up, I also found time to work through and re-organize my digital photos. With those tasks completed, there is time for a quick blog post before a holiday barbeque.
I'll assume that anyone reading this blog post has anti-virus software enabled and current on your computer. However, it is easy to move beyond that basic setup and monitor what devices and services are running via your network. Even if you believe your home network is secure, spending these few short minutes insures you have more knowledge about what is really running on your home network.
Your first step should be to install Fing from Overlook Software. This great free app / service runs on Android, iOS and Windows. After a simple install, you can fire it up and find out what is connected to your network. Hopefully, you will only find the devices you expect to see. Here are a few screenshots from my iPad of my home network via Fing. Click upon any image to view at full size.
For my own security, I've blocked out my I.P. number and machine addresses in all the screenshots. In the first screenshot, you are able to see what is present on my network.
In the second screenshot demonstrates the ability to pull details on any device connected to your home network.
Finally, if you selected the option for "scan services" shown in the second screenshot, one may inspect what public web / network services are being run from your device. Once again, hopefully the services will map to your expectations (i.e. the only services being run are those services you have enabled). Remember, public web services represent potential ways your home network could be compromised.
The final screenshot raises some obvious questions including:
- What if I'm not a network wonk?
- What do these services mean and do?
Thankfully, there are some good resources available on the web to help answer that question. The two services linked below were recommended by my own cyber-security team at work. Thus, if you find a service running, and you're not certain what function it performs on your computer, then link, investigate and learn. Remember, if you find something running which is either suspect, or not desirable, you may disable any Windows service via the control panel ... select <Control Panel>, then <Administrative Services>, and finally <Component Services>. At that point you need to find the service in question, right click and disable.
Thus, here are the two services for more research on public network services which might be running on your computer: